Global Mobile Application Market
Tech Today

Global Mobile Application Market: Recent Trends, Download & Usage Statistics

With the advancement in information technology, the world has adopted smartphones very quickly. For the year 2020, there were almost 5.9 billion smartphone users among the whole population of 7.79 billion across the globe. From these numbers, we can calculate that 76% of the whole population at that time used smartphones and this number is expected to increase significantly with every passing year. According to forecasts, the global population will increase to 8.18 billion, and the number of smartphone users will reach almost 7.3 billion by 2025, making the adoption of smartphones amount to more than 89% of the whole population. So, we can notice how the percentage of people using smartphones will increase over the years. 

As smartphones keep becoming more feature-packed, people also started using them for newer purposes. A new function in a smartphone means one or more new apps on the app drawer. And when the OS platforms started giving licenses to third-party developers, more and more innovative apps started to hit the market. Nowadays, it’s common to see two or more apps on a phone with the same functionality, as each app comes with its own unique set of features. Studies say the average smartphone owner uses 10 apps per day and 30 apps each month. When an app becomes immensely popular, some other apps of the same category start to flood the app downloading platforms. 

With the boom in the smartphone market, the number of app downloads also kept going up. The biggest growth in the apps industry was observed in 2018 when the number of mobile app downloads increased by almost 27% from 2017 and reached 140.68 billion. In 2019, the total number of mobile app downloads amounted to 204 billion, which further increased to 218 billion downloads in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic fueled this rise and in the second quarter of 2020 alone, 37.8 billion mobile apps were downloaded. The number of app downloads finally reached 230 billion in 2021. And, within the first quarter of 2022 alone, 36.9 billion downloads have been made which combines all the major app publisher platforms.

If you are interested to observe more closely how this mobile app industry is evolving and which apps are flourishing the most around the world, then we suggest you go through this article till the end. Because, in this article, we are going to present some recent statistics on mobile apps with respect to their categories, platforms, number of downloads, usage, etc.

Popular Mobile App Libraries

The whole smartphone industry has only a handful of operating systems (OS) and among those, iOS and Android are the most dominant. The revolution of smartphones came with the introduction of these two platforms, and to date, their app libraries are the main two market leaders. Other than them, Amazon Appstore and Microsoft Store are two notable players in the market as well.

Google Play Store

Android OS is the largest smartphone platform that dominates the market with a total share of 71.93%. And Google Play Store, the mobile app store for Android, is the largest app library in the world with approximately 3.3 million apps. In the first quarter of 2022, 28.3 billion apps were downloaded from the Play Store. Hence, this is the most popular destination for app makers too. According to 42Matters, more than 79 thousand new apps have been published on Google Play Store in May 2022. These new and innovative apps lead people to choose Android and that consequently helps in getting larger numbers of downloads.

Apple App Store

iOS is the dedicated operating system for Apple devices and it has a 27.47% market share. Its popularity is gradually growing over the years as the company is moving from a luxury brand to a more consumer-focused brand. It is observed that, within the past 4 years, the market share of iOS has increased by almost 6%. Being the only app market for the iOS platform, the Apple App Store is the second largest app library with 2.1 million apps. A total of 8.6 billion app downloads were made through this platform. Although it has a much smaller user base than Android, almost every essential app is available for iOS too. In May 2022, 33,382 new apps were released on this platform. 

Amazon Appstore

The tech giant Amazon has its own app publishing platform, the Amazon Appstore, for the Fire OS. This OS is used only in their tablet lineup – Amazon Fire. This platform has a small userbase, and it comes third on the app publishers’ list according to the number of apps. It has 0.47 million apps published on the library for the company’s dedicated tabs. Moreover, 2140 new apps have been published on this platform in May 2022.

Microsoft Store

Although the Windows OS is primarily designed for PCs, Microsoft redesigned their OS for phones and tablets. However, the number of users for this platform is very low. In 2018, there were 1.8 million Windows OS smartphone users in the US and the apps for this platform were available in the Windows Phone Store. Currently, they are available in the Microsoft Store for both PC and smartphone. Later on, the company discontinued their phones with Windows OS, and hence, mobile apps stopped being published on the platform. In 2021, the number of Windows OS users was recorded to be 1.2 million only.

Global Mobile Application Market Size

Categories of Apps

It has been estimated that an average smartphone user spends around 3 hours on their device every day. Most of their time is spent on a variety of different apps and games. And with so many categories of apps to choose from which include the likes of social media, business, education, entertainment, utilities, shopping, etc. users have an abundance of options to dedicate their time to. But which category of apps do users spend the most time in? Well, according to Statista, it has been reported that most Android users enjoy playing games on their smartphones which amounted to 13.63% of the total share of apps available as of Q1 2022. Other categories of apps include the likes of education (10.41%), business (7.1%), tools (6.31%), entertainment (5.44%), shopping (4.69%), and so much more.

Another important aspect to consider is whether an app is paid or free to download. It has been estimated that 98% of all revenue comes from free apps. However, that does not mean that paid apps are a lost cause. There are advantages and disadvantages to both strategies. Users that pay for app downloads are likely to be more engaged with it. But on the other hand, the app may have a lower number of users compared to free apps. Hence, if you want to develop an app, a wise idea is to make it free and then add some paid content or features as an extension as users are more likely to engage with them after they have initially tried out the app. 

Top Apps by Download

Here is a breakdown of the top apps that have been downloaded on smartphones throughout the first quarter of 2022 as per the report prepared by Sensor Tower. These data include downloads from both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

AppDownloads (in millions)

It has been reported that as of Q1 2021, TikTok surpassed 3.5 billion all-time downloads. No other app has had more downloads than TikTok since the start of 2018 as stated by Sensor Tower. Apart from TikTok, Meta also holds a significant portion of the share of total apps downloaded. Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp are all in the top 5 apps downloaded worldwide. 

However, if we go by platform, then here is a breakdown of the top apps from Apple’s App Store. 

AppDownloads (in millions)

It should come as no surprise that TikTok is again holding the top spot on Apple’s App Store as of Q1 2022. Similarly, all three of Meta’s platforms hold a spot in the top 5 positions as each app has been downloaded more than 30 million times. What’s interesting is Google’s video-sharing platform – YouTube holds second place on Apple’s App Store in terms of the total number of downloads. 

And finally, here are the top 5 apps on Google’s Play Store. 

AppDownloads (in millions)

On the Play Store, Meta is dominating the charts. However, TikTok is not too behind in this case as they have more than 100 million downloads as of Q1 2022. Interestingly enough, Shopee also holds a place in the top 5 spots as the app was downloaded more than 80 million times.

Although the top spots are primarily dominated by just a handful of apps, there are plenty of other popular apps which are downloaded several million times as well. This includes: Snapchat, Messenger, CapCut, Spotify, Zoom, Netflix, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest, SHEIN, Truecaller.

Source: SensorTower

Furthermore, if we were to segment the apps by their publishers, here is a table that illustrates the information. 

PublisherApp Downloads (in millions)
Embracer Group>300

When it comes to app publishers, Meta is leading the charge. But Google is hot on their tail as they are separated by just 4 million downloads. Right behind them are ByteDance, Embracer Group, and AppLovin with a total of 300+ app downloads for each. 

Top Countries by Download

Now that you have an understanding of what are the top downloaded apps, here is an outline of apps downloaded with respect to countries. 

CountryApp Downloads (in billions)

India is at the top of the chart with more than 6 billion app downloads at the end of Q1 2022. Next up is the U.S. with almost 3.5 billion downloads, followed by Brazil with 2 billion+ downloads, and lastly, with more than 1 billion downloads are Indonesia and Russia. These countries have held the top 5 spots since Q4 of 2021.

Notable App Usage Statistics

As the lives of people are becoming more integrated with their smartphones, the time spent using smartphones is also increasing. So, let’s look at some interesting app usage statistics. 

  • In the year 2021, 3.8 trillion hours were spent using mobile applications.
  • The number of people using the internet on their phones is increasing, while the number of people using the internet on their computers is decreasing.
  • Apps account for about 90% of all mobile internet time.
  • Social and communication applications account for half of all smartphone app use.
  • Social networking applications are among the most popular among millennials, according to over 70% of them.
  • Millennials shop on their phones 1-4 times a week, according to 73% of them.

Key Takeaways 

Finally, let’s take a look at some of the key points from this article. Here is the TL; DR.

  • The average smartphone owner uses 10 apps per day and 30 apps each month.
  • In addition, an average smartphone user spends around 3 hours on their device every day.
  • With a market share of 71.93%, Android OS is the most popular smartphone operating system. iOS is in second place with a market share of 27.47%. 
  • Every month, over 70,000 new Android applications are launched in the Google Play Store.
  • Similarly, about 32,000 new iOS apps are released in the Apple App Store every month. 
  • Globally, the total number of apps downloaded from both Google and Apple’s platforms reached 36.9 billion for Q1 2022.
  • Furthermore, during the same quarter, Apple App Store had a total of 8.6 billion downloads and Google Play Store had a total of 28.3 billion downloads.
  • As of Q1 2022, TikTok has the highest number of downloads on all platforms, which amounts to more than 175 million downloads. 
  • Meta and Google are the top smartphone app publishers on all platforms. 
  • India has the most number of apps downloaded in 2022, followed by the U.S., Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia. 

So, what can we take away from all this? Well, to put it simply, as the adoption of smartphones increases year over year, so too does the usage of smartphone apps. The size of the mobile app industry is growing exponentially and tech companies all over the world are very keenly aware of this fact. TikTok, one of the foremost leading media platforms, came to success by beating the well-established apps of Meta and Google within a very short time. Hence, that goes to show that almost anyone can become a major player in the app market if they play their cards right.