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Number of Apps in Leading App Stores in 2022/2023: Demographics, Facts, and Predictions

How many mobile apps were available for downloads in leading app stores in 2020?
As of the last quarter of 2020, there were 6,375,223  mobile apps available for download in leading app stores: Google Play with 3,148,832 mobile apps; Apple App Store with 2,098,224; Windows Store with 669,000; and Amazon Appstore with 459,167 mobile applications.

Source: Appfigures; Statista 2021

For every mobile phone, there are at least a handful of apps pre-installed. These mobile apps are a necessity for mobile phone users. In a previous article published by FinancesOnline.com, the number of smartphone users was projected to reach 3.5 billion by the end of 2020 and 3.8 billion by the end of 2021. As the number of smartphone users skyrockets, the demand for mobile apps will surely follow.

This article will explore the number of available apps in leading app stores, and will go into the main categories below:

Smartphone Users in the World

In a previous article published by Finances Online, smartphone users were projected to hit 3.3 billion. As of January 2021, the Android operating system dominates the market with a total share of 71.93%, followed by iOS with 27.47%. (StatCounter, 2021)

Source: GlobalStats StatCounter 2021; Statista 2021

User Engagement

With the increasing number of mobile users around the world, it is expected that the number of mobile downloads will likewise grow. The biggest growth thus far was seen in 2018 when the number of mobile app downloads increased by almost 27% from the previous year, which peaked at 140.68 million. In 2019, the total mobile downloads reached 204 billion, which increased to 218 million mobile app downloads by 2020 (Perez, 2021).

Source: App Annie; VentureBeat

The second quarter of 2020 sets a record-breaking 37.8 billion mobile app downloads (Briskman, 2020). In the US, Zoom became the most downloaded app in the second quarter of 2020 with more than 40 million downloads, taking over WhatsApp’s 2019 spot. This can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the remote work setup and increased use of video and chat tools. TikTok takes the second spot of the most downloaded app of the quarter followed by Facebook Messenger. Also, downloads of applications designed for health and fitness, as well as medical apps increased during this time with South Korea taking the lead among countries that downloaded medical apps during the pandemic.

Source: Business of Apps; Statista

As mentioned, more than six million mobile apps available for download are in leading app stores. And with over a billion times these apps downloaded by unique smartphone users, you cannot avoid wondering how many times users launch an app installed on their mobile devices. In another study by Localytics, they found that, on average, an app is launched 13 times a day. Adding to that, research by eMarketer showed that an average American spends 2 hours and 43 minutes per day using mobile apps (eMarketer, 2017).

Source: Localytics

Growth of Available Apps in Leading App Stores

As churn rates coming from smartphone users continuously increase, app developers are obligated to create something new over and over again to keep the interest of their market. According to Appfigures, as of the last quarter of 2020, there was a 9.79% growth in the number of mobile apps available for download in Google Play Store (Appfigures/Statista, 2021). They are followed by the Apple App Store with 6.95%, and Amazon App Store with 0.72%.

Source: Appfigures; Statista 2021

If you look at the fine print, the growth of available apps in leading app stores can also be observed through various categories. In the Google Play Store, uncategorized apps grew at about 362.5% by Q4 2020—an exponential scale from the prior year’s 26.67% (Appfigures/Statista, 2021). Dating apps placed second with 14.88%; The third spot belongs to auto and vehicles 10.64%; Events in fourth with 10% and fifth is shopping with 22.9%.

Source: Appfigures; Statista 2021

In the Apple App Store, uncategorized apps saw a large drop from 88.22% to -0.68 as of Q4 2020 (Appfigures/Statista, 2021). Shopping showed the highest growth with 14.29%, followed by food and drink with an 11% growth rate. Social networking apps came in at third (8.42%) followed closely by health and fitness (8.36%) and utilities (8.25%)

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Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store

By category, as of Q4 2020

Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store
Shopping: 14.29

Shopping

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store
Food & drink: 11

Food & drink

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store
Social networking: 8.42

Social networking

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store
Health & fitness: 8.36

Health & fitness

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store
Utilities: 8.25

Utilities

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store
Productivity: 7.58

Productivity

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store
Entertainment: 7

Entertainment

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store
Games: 6.91

Games

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store
Lifestyle: 6.85

Lifestyle

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Apple App Store
Finance: 6.6

Finance

%

Source: Appfigures; Statista 2021

Designed by

The third leading app store, Amazon App Store, saw the least amount of growth across all app categories except the uncategorized apps. Uncategorized apps lead with 11.66% compared to the previous year’s 6.44% (Appfigures/Statista, 2021). This is followed by business (1.81%), finance (1.36%), photo and video apps (1.3%), and music and audio (1.21%).

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Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore

By category, as of Q4 2020

Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore
No category: 11.66

No category

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore
Business: 1.8

Business

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore
Finance: 1.36

Finance

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore
Photo & video: 1.3

Photo & video

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore
Music & audio: 1.21

Music & audio

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore
Weather: 1.15

Weather

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore
Productivity: 1.11

Productivity

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore
Utilities: 1.11

Utilities

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore
Social: 1.04

Social

%
Quarterly Growth of Available Apps in the Amazon Appstore
Shopping: 0.96

Shopping

%

Source: Appfigures; Statista 2021

Designed by

Most Popular Categories in Leading App Stores

An average smartphone uses over 30 apps installed in their smartphones per month. About nine of these apps are used daily, the new report from App Annie concludes (Thompson, 2017). With millions of mobile apps available for download, Appfigures dissected which categories are the most popular among smartphone users.

In the last quarter of 2020, data gathered from Google Play Store showed that the top category is gaming with 10,350 million downloads (Sensor Tower, 2020). Tools came in second with 1.37 million. Communication tied with social both at 1.08 million and entertainment with 998 million.

Leading Google Play App Categories 2019-2020, by Download Volume (in Millions)

Game Tools Communication Social Entertainment Photography
Q1 ’19 7,460
1,470
1,060 1,050 1,470
Q2 ’19 8,180 1,450 1,010 1,040 1,370
Q3 ’19 6,060 1,210 831 684
Q4 ’19 8,590 1,370 1,080 1,080 998
Q1 ’20 10,350 1,550 1,070 1,150 1,210 888
Source: SensorTower 2020

Similarly, Apple App Store’s data showed that its top category based on download volume is also gaming with 2,970 million (Sensor Tower, 2020). Photo and video placed second with 665 million. Entertainment apps with 626 million downloads made them the third most popular category. Utilities and social networking hold the fourth and fifth spots with 553 million and 484 million, respectively.

Leading Google Play App Categories 2019-2020, by Download Volume (in Millions)

Games Photo & Video Entertainment Utilities Social Networking Shopping
Q1 ’19 2,200 570 491 451 396
Q2 ’19 2,250 575 469 462 398 390
Q3 ’19 2,440 592 535 476 456
Q4 ’19 2,330 586 534 483 998 496
Q1 ’20 2,970 665 626 553 484
Source: SensorTower 2020

In another study by Appfigures and Statista, they identified the most popular categories in Google Play Store as of 2020 based on the share of available apps (Appfigures/Statista, 2021). Gaming remains the most popular category with a 13.44% share from the total number of available apps ready for download. Education placed second with a total share of 9.43%. They are followed by the business category with 6.91%. Tools placed fourth with 5.98%, and entertainment in fifth place with 5.86%.

Source: Appfigures; Statista 2021

PocketGamer.biz conducted a separate study to focus on finding out the most popular categories in the Apple App Store based on the share of available apps in August 2020 (PocketGamer, 2020). They reported that gaming is also the top category but with a much higher share compared to its Android counterpart with 21.86%. Business followed with 10.11%. Education placed third with 8.68%. Lifestyle and utilities subsequently placed on the fourth and fifth spots with 8.62% and 5.79%, respectively.

Source: Pocket Gamer; Statista 2021

Leading App Stores in China

The country with the biggest population of smartphone users, China, has limited access to foreign websites. Smartphone users in China are predicted to reach over 970 million in 2021 (Statista, 2020). Because of this, their online activity piques the interest of many mobile app developers. According to Statista (2020), however, the number of apps available for download across all app stores in China has declined from 4.2 million in 2018 to 3.45 million in 2020.

Source: CNNIC; Statista 2020

In a study conducted by Analysys in 2020, they found out that WeChat is the most popular app in China with 983 million monthly active users (Analysys, 2020). Taobao comes next with more than 827 million users, followed by Alipay with over 797.74 active users per month.

Source: Analysys; Statista 2020

In a more recent study conducted by AppInChina, the number of Android app stores has increased as of November 2020. (AppinChina, 2020) With a market share of 26.46%, Tencent MyApp remains in the number one spot after replacing 360 Mobile Assistant in 2018. Meanwhile, 360 Mobile Assistant holds its place in the fourth spot with a 10.97% market share. Huawei App Market takes the second spot with 15.37%, and Oppo Software Store follows with 11% in the third spot. Vivo App Store climbed on the fifth spot, beating Baidu Mobile Assistant. Notably, Alibaba—dubbed as the Amazon of China—and its mobile app store’s market share fell significantly in popularity and didn’t appear in the study.

Source: AppInChina; Statista 2020

Revenue of the Mobile Apps Industry

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Don’t be fooled by these “free-to-download” apps. Yes, in a sense, they are free but when you look at it closely, most of these ‘free’ apps require in-app purchases for full access. In other cases, they mine your data and sell it to third-party entities as payment. Those are only a few methods of how developers make a profit in the mobile apps industry.

In a report by iResearch, the total revenue of mobile apps in 2020 was $581.9 billion (iResearch/Statista, 2019). These numbers consist of in-app advertising and paid app revenue. They also predicted that the total revenue of mobile apps will hit $935.2 billion by 2023.

Source: iResearch

Trends to Watch Out For in the Mobile Apps Industry

Wearable devices have started to emerge. Major brands manufacturing mobile devices such as phones are also producing smartwatches and, potentially, smartglasses. These devices also need mobile apps for you to enjoy their features—a trend that is sure to make an impact soon.

Internet of things and mobile-connected devices will take over households. At the moment, smart homes are already available in the market but can cost you a fortune. With the continuous demand for innovation, it’s only a matter of time before these things become accessible to the public. From toys to domestic appliances like TVs and refrigerators, there will be a mobile app dedicated to it.

If all the predictions based on these statistics are correct, expect the number of mobile apps available for download across all platforms to increase exponentially. And along with it, trends in the mobile app industry are sure to follow.

 

References:

  1. Analysys. (2020). New mobile app top 1000 in 2019. Analysys.
  2. Appfigures. (2021). Statista – Total apps by quarter-category 4Q2020. Appfigures/Statista.
  3. AppinChina. (2020). The AppInChina App Store Index. Beijing, China: AppinChina.
  4. Briskman, J. (2020, July 16). Sensor Tower’s Q2 2020 Data Digest: Global app ecosystem sets new record with 37.8 billion downloads. Sensor Tower.
  5. eMarketer. (2017, April 11). eMarketer unveils new estimates for mobile app usage. eMarketer.
  6. iResearch. (2019). iResearch Industry Overview. Beijing, China: iResearch/Statista.
  7. Perez, S. (2021, January 13). App stores saw record 218 billion downloads in 2020, consumer spend of $143 billion. TechCrunch.
  8. PocketGamer. (2020). App Store Metrics. Bath, UK: PocketGamer.
  9. Sensor Tower. (2020). Store Intelligence Q1 2020 Data Digest. San Francisco, CA: Sensor Tower.
  10. StatCounter. (2021). Mobile operating system market share worldwide. GlobalStats StatCounter.
  11. Statista. (2020, November 24). Number of smartphone users in China 2015-2025. Hamburg, Germany: Statista.
  12. Thompson, E. (2017, May 3). Discover the countries leading in app usage. App Annie.
James Anthony

By James Anthony

A senior FinancesOnline writer on SaaS and B2B topics, James Anthony passion is keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge practices (other than writing personal blog posts on why Firefly needs to be renewed). He has written extensively on these two subjects, being a firm believer in SaaS to PaaS migration and how this inevitable transition would impact economies of scale. With reviews and analyses spanning a breadth of topics from software to learning models, James is one of FinancesOnline’s most creative resources on and off the office.

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