Finance apps
Fintech Middle East & Africa

Demand For Finance Apps At ‘All Time High’ In Sub-Saharan Africa: Report

Demand for finance apps worldwide has surged in recent years with the Covid-19 pandemic leading marketeers to plough billions into user acquisition. A report from AppsFlyer highlights particularly impressive growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

Finance apps are in huge demand, experiencing a 132 per cent leap globally in downloads in the last two years, according to AppsFlyer, the global marketing measurement firm. Fastest-growing markets include Egypt and South Africa, alongside Hong Kong, Turkey and the US.


The State of Finance App Marketing 2021 report reveals installs in Nigeria climbed 160 per cent, up 100 per cent in Kenya and growing by 52 per cent in South Africa.

With 56 per cent of the population in Nigeria ‘unbanked’, many are turning to apps to access key financial solutions including: loans (43.3 per cent), financial services (35.6 per cent) and investments (20.3 per cent). Africa as a whole recorded a 69 per cent registration rate in loan apps.

The Middle East and Turkey enjoyed mostly steady climbs since 2019, culminating in a Q1 2021 surge in Turkey (over 110 per cent vs. Q4 and a 865 per cent leap since Q1 2019). Meanwhile, demand in Saudi Arabia and the UAE increased 45 per cent and 60 per cent in the same time frame, respectively (with both showing growth rates that exceeded 200 per cent since Q1 2019).

Globally, digital banking installs were up 45 per cent while traditional banks gained 22 per cent in 2021. Finance app installs increased 20 per cent overall, but financial services and traditional banking app installs saw only a 15 per cent increase between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021. Figures also reveal 29 of the top 40 finance markets (by app installs) enjoyed a growth of at least 20 per cent year-on-year.

The data

AppsFlyer’s report is based on an anonymous aggregate of proprietary global data collected from 4.7 billion finance app installs. It reveals 29 of the top 40 finance markets (by app installs) enjoyed a growth of at least 20 per cent year-on-year.

Daniel Junowicz, RVP EMEA & strategic projects at AppsFlyer said: “The Covid-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated the adoption of financial technology globally and in emerging markets especially, finance apps helped millions of consumers and businesses remain connected. This trend is likely to continue and understanding how to best market their apps will be key to African businesses standing out from the crowd and growing their customer base.”

“With this year heading for a record with total spend globally, reaching no less than $1.2billion in Q1 alone, we believe that combining different types of marketing activities in addition to improving the registration funnel by optimising and shortening the time from install to registration will give marketers the edge to utilise their 2021 budget to the fullest.”

Marketing campaigns

Fintech marketers invested $3billion on user acquisition in 2020, according to AppsFlyer. Average spend per app shows user acquistion budgets increased by almost 40 per cent since Q2 2020.

Sub-Sahara has seen marketing rise in Nigeria (more than 150 per cent since Q2 2020) and South Africa (plus 33 per cent since Q1 2020). However, Kenya is no longer on marketers’ radars, dropping more than 80 per cent in the past two years.



  • Claire is an experienced editor and writer with 25 years of experience in the publishing industry. As a tech journalist, Claire has covered every subject possible over the years, from the launch of broadband and next generation mobile networks to the arrival of the metaverse and Web3.

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