Source: Statista, App Annie, VentureBeat, and market projections
With over 2.7 billion smartphone users worldwide, it’s no surprise that the mobile app industry is booming. Smartphone and app penetration keep on growing at a steady pace, without showing any signs of slowing down in the near future.
There were more than 205 billion app downloads in 2018. A 15% increase from the year prior. Experts predict that there would be a 25% increase in global mobile app downloads between 2018 and 2022, when forecasts estimate there will be 258 billion app downloads globally.
As expected, the vast majority of global downloads are all free. As a matter of fact, 98% of app revenue worldwide comes from free apps. Only a few are willing to pay for downloads.
Gaming apps are the most popular apps in the Apple Store based on availability, as about 25% of all the available apps fit in this category. It is also the category with high mobile user engagement – 88% of digital gaming time in 2016 was spent via mobile apps.
Food & Drink%
Health & Fitness%
Photo & Video%
On the other hand, tools, video players and edit, travel and local, and communication are the leading Android app categories worldwide.
Video Players & Edit%
Travel & Local%
Music & Audio%
News & Magazines%
Books & Reference%
Games - Casual%
Games - Puzzle%
Games - Arcade%
Games - Action%
In 2018, mobile app revenue worldwide amounted to over $365 billion. Mobile apps are projected to generate more than $935 billion via paid downloads as well as in-app advertising in 2023.
The top grossing mobile gaming app publishers in the Google Play Store worldwide in January 2019 generated over 40 million US dollars in app revenues each:
Meanwhile, the leading non gaming app publishers based on revenue include:
In June 2016, 88% of digital gaming time was spent via mobile apps. Clash of Clans became the top grossing gaming app in May 2019, generating more than $1.54 million in revenue per day.
The average price for a gaming app is about 49 cents, while the average app price is a little over $1. Common app revenue models include free apps with in-app purchases, paid apps without in-app purchases and paid apps with in-app purchases. Gaming apps frequently generate revenue through in-game item purchases.
Mobile games have gained popularity over the past five years or so. Below are the top 10 most played games of all time based on the number of players who played the game.
Despicable Me: Minion Rush
Candy Crush Saga
Garena Free Fire
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Whatsapp is one of the most popular and widely used chat applications, which also supports communication between international phone networks. Market leader Facebook was the first social networking site to reach 1 billion registered accounts and currently has almost 2.41 billion monthly active users.
Around 2 billion internet users are using social networking sites and these figures are still expected to grow as mobile device usage and mobile social networks continuously gain traction.
Douyin / Tik Tok
Mobile accounts for almost half of internet traffic worldwide. In the last quarter of 2019, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 52.6% of global website traffic, steadily hovering around the 50% mark since the first quarter of 2017.
The Manifest reports that app users are most likely to underreport how often they check apps. The largest percentage of respondents say they check their mobile phones 1 to 10 times daily. But numbers are most likely higher since people often have a hard time estimating their own behavior, especially when it comes to mobile app usage.
1 - 10 times%
More than 100 times%
Despite a turbulent 2018, Facebook remains to be the top social network in the US, with 169.76 million mobile users accessing the app version in September 2019. Coming in at second and third place respectively are Facebook’s other properties – Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
Messenger by Google
Discord - Chat for Games
Google Hangouts (main)
As of the first quarter of 2019, mobile app users download between 2.6 million Android, and 2.2 million iOS apps. According to App Annie, the total number of app downloads in 2018 is 194 billion, up from 178 million in 2017.
During the fourth quarter of 2019, according to Statista, Android users were able to choose between 2.57 million apps, making Google Play app store the one with the highest number of available apps. Not surprisingly, Apple’s App Store was the second-largest app store with almost 1.84 million available apps for iOS.
Apple App Store
Amazon App Store
Meanwhile, India has become the world’s fastest-growing market for mobile applications on both the Apple iOS and Google’s Android Play Store, with a huge spike in revenue during the first quarter of 2018.
In 2018, the number of smartphone users in the US is estimated to be at 257.3 million. It’s safe to say that the number of mobile app users in the US are around that figure.
The number of smartphone users in the US is on a steady rise and will steadily increase, with all the advances in telecommunication technology.
App development is a very exciting opportunity, since the potential for app developers to hit it big with one popular app, has led to an explosion of freelancers and programmers working in the app development industry.
There are an average of more than 30,000 new apps submitted to the iTunes App store alone each month. Even more so for competing platforms like Android and Windows.
In mid 2016, around 130 billion apps have been downloaded from the Apple App Store worldwide and an estimated 65 billion apps have been downloaded from Google Play.
A 2015 survey of app developers and publishers revealed that the average revenue per app were higher for those developed for the Windows Phone than those for iOS, which generates approximately a third less in revenue, and Android apps, which is less than half of that of Windows.
Despite the chance of making millions when an app hits big, being a mobile app developer is still challenging and tough. Gartner reported that less than 0.01% of all consumer mobile apps became successful in 2018. Nevertheless, apps continue to be a common development goal and product focus for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Nowadays, the average app size for iOS mobile apps is 38MB while 15MB is the standard for Android mobile apps.
There are approximately 2 million apps on the Android platform – 45% are free and the rest of the apps cost between $1 and $3 on average.
In October 2015, Google set an upper limit for how much an app or game could cost on Playstore, so you won’t find anything over $400.
Before it was taken down, developer Abu Moo has taken “expensive” to a whole new level. But instead of creating one expensive app, he uploaded a series of applications (six to be exact) on Play Store at $400 each. The apps were simply named after precious gems. Here’s the kicker—the apps don’t have any features at all! They are simply widget that shows the gem on your home screen.
In terms of existing apps on the Play Store, 5-Minute Sports Medicine is the most expensive. It’s an educational app, which contains information on sports medicine.
As expected, social networking apps had some of the highest revenue collected on Play Store. According to Sensor Tower, Tinder is the highest-grossing app in 2018, earning $274.9 million. Cloud-based file storage Google drive came in second with $164.3 million gross earnings.
Pandora,a music streaming platform, is the third highest grossing with $132 million. Instant messaging platform Line is ranked fourth with $105.4 million earnings. Bigo Live, a live-streaming social network round up the top 5 with $100.4 million.
The mobile health app market has developed into a whole new interesting category on its own.It refers to medicine and public health services through smartphones. It’s been identified as one of the top three fields to speed up the growth of mobile devices.
There are mobile health apps available for both consumers and healthcare professionals. In 2017, the estimated number of available mobile health apps on average is 325,000, with a 25% year-on-year growth.
A typical smartphone user spends 2 hours and 15 minutes using apps every day. According to research, there are between 60 and 90 apps installed on an average smartphone. But not all of these apps are fully utilized. As a matter of fact, the majority of mobile time of users is spent using three apps only.
Despite the fact that an average person uses 25 apps monthly, 96% of that time is split between ten apps only. As a matter of fact, 75% of apps are used only once after being downloaded.
Social media / Chat%
Music / radio%
Finance / bank%
TV / Series / Movies%
The popular apps that thrive in 2019 might not enjoy the same success in 2020. One of the major adjustments app developers need to do is building apps for foldables. With Samsung introducing the OLED foldable display, the operating systems are getting ready to make use of this technology to improve smartphone experience of users.
Another trend that will be wildly popular is augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Technology giants like Apple and Google are already creating tons of new use cases using AR. For instance, Google is about to introduce a new AR feature for Google Maps, which will aid users to get real time directions from their camera phones. Of course, Mixed Reality (MR) is also on the horizon.
These are just two of the many new exciting developments in mobile app development. Most developments are improvements of existing technology such as cloud storage, wearable app integration, and on-demand apps.
The emerging mobile app platform development technologies, rising backend platforms and microservices, combined with the new hardware capabilities, will continue to drive the evolution of mobile apps.
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