Last Updated: October 2, 2021
Mobile apps make the world go round today. Given how often we make use of one of the many apps on our phones and tablets to shop, read, play, listen to music, communicate, order food, book travel tickets, find answers to questions, and a lot else, it can be difficult to imagine how recent a phenomenon they are. As the app usage statistics compiled below show, the ubiquity of these neatly packed applications in our lives will only keep growing in the near future with app revenues inching close to $200 billion within the next two-three years.
Therefore, whether you are a general user, developer, or marketer, being up to date on the key trends from the fascinating world of apps is essential. For easy reading, we have categorized all the information you need on this subject coming into 2021 under clear headings, beginning with some important points related to the number of apps available at and downloaded from the top app stores.
But, first, let’s check out some of the most impressive app usage statistics.
- The number of smartphone users on the globe is 3.8 billion.
- There were 218 billion app downloads in 2020.
- TikTok is the most downloaded non-gaming app.
- In 2020, the average smartphone user had 40 apps installed on their mobile phone.
- The mobile app market was predicted to generate up to $581.9 billion in revenue by the end of 2020.
- 18 to 24-year-olds spent 66% of their digital media time using smartphone apps.
- 87% of smartphone users spend their mobile time on apps.
- The global mobile gaming market was set to reach $165.9 billion by the end of 2020.
These are some impressive numbers, right?
Let’s have a look at what else we have in store for you, starting with the latest data from 2021.
Impressive App Usage Statistics for 2021
The question of how much time people spend on apps today still remains.
Also, how many apps are out there in 2021?
The following app usage stats for 2021 will throw light on these questions.
1. There are 3.8 billion smartphone users in the world.
(Source: Bank my Cell)
The total world population in 2021 is at 7.9 billion. Of that figure, close to 50% own smartphones.
The number has grown a lot since 2016 when only 2.5 billion people utilized the devices. Of course, that’s a massive opportunity for apps to flourish since the gadgets are app-friendly.
2. Users downloaded 218 billion apps in 2020.
According to app download statistics, people downloaded 218 billion apps from Google Play and the App Store. That is 26 billion more than in 2018 and 78 billion more than in 2016.
The pandemic created a conducive environment for app usage. Most people were idle and looking for distractions. Those who worked or schooled from home also benefited from the applications.
3. In March 2020, TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app with over 115.2 million installs.
(Source: The Hindu Business Line)
According to statistics on mobile app usage for 2020, app usage has been on the rise, mainly due to the coronavirus-induced pandemic. Apps like Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc., have experienced this first-hand. TikTok, in particular, registered a jaw-breaking 315 million downloads on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store in Q1 2020. This number excludes other third-party app stores, which may have likely increased its number of downloads even further.
4. Mobile apps will generate $935 billion by 2023.
The mobile app industry makes billions of dollars in revenue every year. In 2019, the total revenue generated was $462 billion, and it was $365.2 billion in the year before that.
As you can see, there has been an upward rise in the last few years, which is likely to continue in the coming years.
According to app revenue statistics, the income will hit close to $950 billion by 2023. The money will come from in-app advertising and paid downloads.
5. The gaming market for mobiles will make $102.8 billion by 2023.
App usage statistics in 2021 predict that the mobile gaming segment will have an income of around $103 billion in 2023. That will be $26 billion more than what it was in 2020. Asia will remain the top gaming continent on the globe.
6. 70% of mobile app users will abandon an app if it is taking too long to load.
(Source: Think Storage Now)
53% of your site visitors will leave if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
What about apps?
Same thing. If your app takes a whole lot of time to load, now is the best time to put in the effort and ensure a faster load time. Anything beyond a few seconds and chances of you losing some percentage of your customers begin to set in.
7. In 2020, the average smartphone user had 40 apps installed on their mobile phone.
In spite of this number, reports have it that a whopping 89% of smartphone users’ time is spent on just 18 apps. According to app usage statistics, for Millenials, that number rises to 67 apps, with only 25 commonly used apps. 55% of businesses owned by Millenials have a mobile app of their own.
Apps Downloads Statistics
The world of mobile apps is fascinating. The numbers are getting bigger by the day.
8. Consumers are expected to download 258.2B mobile apps in 2022.
In 2017, consumers downloaded 178.1 billion mobile apps worldwide to their connected devices. This figure was on track to surpass 205 billion in 2018. The wider availability of smart devices, as well as increasing competition in the app development market, is expected to drive this impressive growth. This data also helps answer how many apps are downloaded in a day (about 700 million).
9. Global app downloads across the Apple App Store and Google Play surpassed 113B in 2018.
(Source: App Annie)
The two largest and most popular markets for mobile apps account for a little over 55% of all app downloads. The total download figure for these two stores is an increase of 10% over 2017.
10. The cumulative number of apps downloaded from the Apple App Store reached 180B in 2017.
Apple App Store was created in 2008, and, since then, there has been a consistent upward curve in the cumulative number of downloaded apps. By June 2017, which is the last reported period by Apple, 180 billion apps had been downloaded. This means that, between June 2016 and June 2017, 50 billion apps were downloaded, while between June 2015 and June 2016, this number was 30 billion. Of course, these figures include native iPad apps also. The corresponding figures for Google Play are not available, but can be expected to be much higher.
11. The App Store had over two million apps in the first quarter of 2021.
(Source: Statista, Statista)
According to mobile app downloads for 2021, the App Store had the second-highest number of applications after Google Play during the first few months of 2021. It had about 2.2 million, while Windows Store had almost 670,000.
12. There were almost 3.5 million apps available on the Play Store in Q1, 2021.
Google dominates the app market.
Android app statistics show that there were 3,482,452 available programs for users on Play Store. Google emerged number one, ahead of companies like Apple, Windows, and Amazon.
13. The Amazon App Store had about 460,000 apps in early 2021.
Although the Amazon App Store is relatively new in the market, it’s quickly rising the ranks. It offers apps for Kindle Fire tablet, Android, Fire Phone, and Fire TV. During the first quarter of 2021, it had around 460K applications available for download.
14. The top 3 apps stores in terms of the number of apps available are Google Play, the Apple App Store, and the Windows Store.
Google Play and the Apple App Store led the competition by a huge margin with 2.1 million and 2 million apps in Q3 2018, respectively. Windows Store offered 669,000 apps against Amazon Appstore’s 450,000 and BlackBerry World’s 234,500. The fact that mobile apps are relatively easier to create than computer apps, as well as their considerably lower price has translated into a growing industry that produces every year more and more, prompting the occasional steps by app stores to remove the least popular ones.
15. In 2020, Tencent controlled the Chinese app market by 26%.
As you may know, there’s no Google Play in China.
Therefore, Android users often turn to third-party stores such as Tencent to access their favorite applications.
According to mobile app stats, Tencent App Store had slightly over a quarter of the Chinese app market share in 2020, which was the highest. As of 2020, the company has 29,560 publishers and 43,840 apps available for download.
General Facts About Apps
From gaming to social media to e-commerce, mobile apps are becoming more and more important.
16. Gaming is the most popular category on Google Play.
(Source: Business of Apps)
Gaming apps represent about 16% of all apps on Google Play. Education and business take second and third place with 11.2% and 8% respectively. The communication sector has the last percentage with 2.7%.
17. Gaming is the most favorite category on the App Store.
(Source: Business of Apps)
Gaming does it again!
According to mobile app statistics in 2021, it’s the most popular category on the App Store with 21.8%. That’s almost 6% ahead of its representation on the Google Play Store. The second and third popular app types are business and education with about 10 and 9%, respectively. The least liked category in the store is photo and video.
18. The average cost of a non-gaming app on the App Store is $0.91.
On average, a non-gaming application on the App Store will cost you close to $1. Gaming apps, on the other hand, have a median price of $0.49.
19. After Google, the leading non-gaming app publisher in Google Play is Facebook.
Given the social network’s ubiquity, this hardly comes as a surprise. WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook, comes at third position, followed by Microsoft, musical.ly, and Instagram, another service owned by Facebook.
20. Nearly 35% of millennials consider Amazon the most essential mobile app.
The conventional narrative about 18-34 year-olds is that they can’t live without social networking and communication apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp. However, a recent survey related to mobile app usage demographics shows that Amazon, the shopping app, is what many young users can’t do without, with nearly half of them keeping the app on their home screens. Gmail (30%) and Facebook (29%) follow close behind.
21. The most downloaded app in 2020 was TikTok.
(Source: Business of Apps)
The application got 850 million downloads, ahead of WhatsApp’s 600 million and Facebook’s 540 million. TikTok China (Douyin) accounted for about 25% of its worldwide installs.
The app was number one in the United States (89 million) and the United Kingdom (22 million). Although the Chinese market was leading globally in terms of downloads, it took the 5th position in the country.
22. TikTok generated the highest amount of revenue out of all apps in 2020.
(Source: Sensor Tower)
According to mobile app download statistics, TikTok, together with its Chinese version Douyin, generated the highest revenue on iOS. It made $1.2 billion, displaying a 600% year-on-year growth.
Google One generated the highest amount of income on Android during the same year. It made an income of $444 million, which was a year-on-year growth of about 42%.
Apps Revenue and Marketing Statistics
Even free apps can be a multi-billion business opportunity. Here are some stats to prove it.
23. App Store and Google Play collectively made $111 billion in 2020.
(Source: Sensor Tower)
2020 saw massive growth in app usage. Both App and Google Play stores saw a 30% year-over-year increase in revenue compared to 2019.
24. Consumer spending on games represented roughly 77% of the total gross app revenue for Apple and Google in H1 2018.
Consumer spending on games grew 19.1 percent in the first half of 2018 to $26.6 billion across both stores, representing roughly 78 percent of the total spent ($16.3 billion on the App Store and $10.3 billion on Google Play). This means that, for Google, game spending accounted for 87% of the gross app revenue.
25. Between 2021 and 2025, the mobile app market size will grow by almost $654 billion.
In 2021 alone, the industry will experience a growth of 20.45%. That will be a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 21% during the prediction period. The Asia Pacific region will contribute to 46% of the increase.
26. About 45% of mobile app revenue was expected from the APAC region.
While the APAC region has dominated worldwide mobile app revenues compared to the Americas and EMEA even in the last few years, its share in the overall $189 billion pie was expected to increase to 45% by 2020. Apps stats show that it currently accounts for a little over 41%. The Americas were estimated to account for about 39% of the worldwide revenue in 2020.
27. In-app advertising will reach $280 billion in 2022.
Brands are leveraging the posting of adverts in applications, and the monetization method’s revenue is showing massive growth over the years.
In 2019, spending on smartphone apps reached $190 billion. That amount will grow by $90 billion by 2022. Interstitial ads are the most annoying to users since they take up the entire screen. Banner ads, on the other hand, take up less space.
28. In Q1 of 2021, spending on gaming apps was $22.2 billion.
(Source: Finances Online)
Compared to the first quarter of 2020, global spending on gaming apps grew by 25% in 2021.
During Q1 2021, consumers spent $22.2 billion on mobile apps. The money came from in-app purchases on freemium apps or buying premium games.
29. 94% of App Store revenue in the US goes to just 1% of publishers.
(Source: Cult of Mac)
This data point shows how difficult it is to make money on the App Store, except for a select few. Publishers in the top 1% include Supercell, creator of Clash of Clans and Boom Beach; Machine Zone, creator of Game of War and iMob Online; Netflix; Spotify; and HBO.
30. Mobile apps have higher engagement rates than mobile-optimized websites or desktop web viewing, and 100-300% higher conversion rates.
While it helps to have mobile-optimized websites, according to recent mobile app vs mobile website statistics, when it comes to user engagement and conversion, mobile apps beat even an efficiently optimized website. With a difference in conversion rates of almost 300%, it is obvious that investing in a useful app can help you reap substantial benefits in the long run.
31. 42% of small businesses have their own mobile app.
Mobile apps can boost customer loyalty, brand image, and employee efficiency. But any business needs to truly understand the inputs needed to build and maintain a successful app. This is particularly true for small businesses that tend to have limited resources.
32. 83% of B2B marketers say mobile apps were important to content marketing.
(Source: Content Marketing Institute)
B2B commerce is also moving at a healthy pace on mobile devices. The basic strategies are no different from what marketers will use in B2C commerce, and in fact, many new technologies are being used in this context first to reshape the purchase pathway.
33. Health and fitness popularity on the App Store is 3.41%.
(Source: Business of Apps)
Most people have become more conscious of their health during the pandemic. However, health and wellness apps on Apple Store are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to popularity, with about 3%. According to health app usage statistics, things aren’t any different in the Play Store either because the sector has around 4%.
Apps Usage Trends
App usage is growing all over the world. Some users tend to open a single app ten times a day.
34. Only about 65% of smartphone users in the US have gaming apps on their phones.
Despite gaming being the most popular app category, smartphone apps statistics show that, as of July 2018, only 65.7% of users in the US have even one gaming app on their phones. The three most commonly found categories are communication & social (97.9%), web browsers (97.3%), and utilities & tools (95.6%). Other categories ranking about games include shopping, news & weather, travel, and finance.
35. 21% of downloaded apps worldwide are accessed only once during the first 6 months of ownership.
Since 2011, this figure has hovered in the low 20s. This is an indication that number of downloads isn’t always a sign of an app’s utility or an app store’s popularity. Nearly a quarter of all apps, especially free ones, are downloaded, used once, and then ignored till they get uninstalled to create memory space for a new download.
36. Close to 40% of all smartphone users say social media apps are their most frequently used.
(Source: The Manifest, MindSea)
39% of all smartphone users surveyed for a study on mobile app usage in 2018 listed social media apps as their most frequently used, followed by gaming (10%), messaging (10%), and retail (7%) apps. Thus, between social media and messaging apps, nearly 50% of all smartphone users use apps mostly to communicate with friends and acquaintances. The use of social media and messaging apps is much higher among millennials.
37. 20% of mobile app usage time in the US is spent on social networking.
Another indication of the popularity of social networking apps is that users spend more time on them than on any other category of apps. The next three categories are music, multimedia, and gaming, with instant messaging ranking a distant sixth.
38. 42% of online shoppers use shopping or communication apps after a shopping session.
The app usage statistics are slightly different when a smartphone user is involved in a shopping session. 23.3% of users in this case continue on shopping apps and 18.9% use communication and social app, presumably to tell their friends about their purchase.
39. About half of the smartphone users in the US do not download even a single app in a month.
According to a survey of US smartphone users in June 2017, 51% of users hadn’t downloaded a single app in the previous one month and only 13% had downloaded one app. At the other end of the spectrum were 17% users who had downloaded 4 or more apps.
40. Nearly half of smartphone users open apps more than 10 times a day, about 8% do so more than 50 times.
(Source: Mobile App Daily)
Irrespective of whether the engagement is with one app or many, what is interesting about this set of app usage stats is that only 51% of smartphone users open an app 10 times or less in a day. For 25%, the frequency is 11 to 20 times in a day. If we talk about 16%, it is 21 to 50 times. If we consider 6%, 51 to 100 times, and for 2%, incredibly enough, more than 100 times in one day.
41. People in the 18-44 age group spend more than 50% of their digital time on mobile apps.
This figure is even higher at 66% in the 18-24 age brackets. Users in this age group also spend an additional 4% of digital time on tablet apps. With increasing age, the likelihood of spending more time on a desktop or laptop increases.
42. Mobile users spend 87% of their usage time in apps.
Mobile app vs mobile website statistics skew substantially in the former’s favor, with only 13% of the time spent on mobiles devoted to web surfing. While the need to be mobile responsive is clearly understood by marketers today, this major skew towards app usage should encourage businesses to invest in meaningful apps of their own.
43. Users spend an average of 4.2 hours on apps per day.
(Source: Tech Crunch)
Users spent an average of three hours daily on applications in 2018. However, mobile app usage for 2021 shows that the time has increased by over one hour for most countries worldwide.
Of course, that’s just an average figure. Some places have higher numbers compared to others.
For instance, users in markets like Mexico, Turkey, India, and US markets spent more time on their apps.
44. Mobile websites get more unique visitors, but visitors spend more time on apps.
A comparison of the top 500 mobile websites and the top 500 mobile apps shows that the former receive about 8.7 million more unique visitors each month. However, mobile device usage stats also show that the average time spent by each visitor is about 16 times higher on mobile apps than on mobile websites.
45. Smartphone users use 9 to 10 apps daily on average, 30 apps over a month.
According to a report from App Annie, smartphone users were spending more time on apps in 2017 than in the previous years, when 5 apps were used daily. The 30 apps accessed regularly on a monthly basis are about one-third to one-half of all the apps installed on their phones. This trend also has a name – the 30:10 rule (30 apps in a month, 10 per day).
46. iPhone users tend to use slightly more apps than Android users.
According to iPhone app usage stats, the Apple App Store apps get used slightly more often than those from the Play Store. However, Android users tend to use over 30% more games than iPhone users.
47. The most popular app accounts for less than 20% of app usage time.
Though there were minor variations among the trends from the nine countries studied, it was found that over 80% of app usage took place in apps that were outside of the top app in that country. This means that even though apps like Facebook and WhatsApp dominate, there’s still plenty of user time to go around.
48. Video streaming in apps was up 40% in 2020.
(Source: App Annie)
There has been a massive change from the big screen to mobile and from broadcast TV to on-demand in the last ten years. As a result, users spent almost one trillion hours bingeing on videos on apps in 2020.
49. Google Play has nearly twice as many app publishers as there are on the Apple App Store
(Source: Business of Apps)
The number of publishers in each app store reveals its adoption rate and how attractive and lucrative for app developers a specific store is. Even though the App Store continues its domination in terms of gross app revenue, according to latest available figures, Google Play Store has far more registered publishers (967,000) compared to App Store (499,000). This is partly driven by the much higher level of adoption of Android in China and India.
50. Millennials are three times more likely to be excited about new mobile apps and features than older users.
In keeping with the trends seen in mobile app usage by age, about 70% of millennials are more likely to be on the lookout for new apps. 66% also wish there they could do more with apps. On the other hand, about 70 to 75% of users in the 55+ age group seem to be satisfied with the apps they have and don’t actively look for new ones.
51. Millennials are much more likely to pay for mobile apps compared to 35+ users.
According to a 2017 survey of US smartphone users, 80% in the 55+ age group and 66% in the 35-54 age group admitted to not purchasing a single app in the previous year. In contrast, 64% users among millennials had purchased at least one app, with 19% averaging one app per month.
52. In 2017, 70% of millennials made more than 1 in-app purchase, compared to just 21% in the 55+ age group.
Mobile app user statistics show that millennials are more comfortable making in-app purchases than they are buying apps. According to the same survey, almost 50% of US millennials made 5 or more in-app purchases in 2017. This figure was just 15% for users aged 35 to 54 and a measly 5% for users aged 55 and above.
53. 21% of millennials deleted a mobile app because the app logo didn’t appeal to them.
(Source: Comscore, MindSea)
Millennials app users are a lot more finicky when it comes to the look and feel of the app (based on app usage stats), while the functionality and benefits seem to be enough for most older users. Investing time and effort in logo design is therefore critical. According to another study, the most popular color for general apps is blue, while red is the color of choice when it comes to food and beverage-related apps. Perhaps some companies need a better logo maker to retain their users.
54. 18% of smartphone users move an app to the home screen because of its looks.
There are more important reasons for moving an app to the home screen, of course, including frequent usage (61%), easier access (54%), and the need to open the app quickly (49%). However, as another reminder that the appearance of the logo is important, there are many who choose to bring an app to the home screen because it looks good. Mobile app usage statistics indicate that the likelihood of an app being opened is higher if it is on the home screen, which makes it all the more important to get the logo right.
55. 74% of millennials resort to opening an app when they are bored.
Not just this, 76% of millennials, according to a 2017 survey of US smartphone users, would find their phones useless if there weren’t any apps on them and 63% confess to feeling the need to check app notifications immediately. These figures are significantly lower for older age groups, indicating the high dependence of young users not just on their phones but on the apps they have downloaded.
56. 43% of smartphone users agree to app requests to allow push notifications.
In keeping with general app usage stats, the likelihood of smartphone users, in general, to allow push notifications from apps has also gone up in recent times. 24% of users often agree to the app requests, while 19% do it always. The combined figure is an increase of 16% from the number of users who agreed to app notification requests often or always in 2016.
57. Data usage is the prime factor for 37% of millennials in deciding if they like an app.
In their answer to a query regarding the factors that help them decide if an app is worth keeping, 37% of millennials listed excessive data usage as a dealbreaker. Even though data plans are getting better, for millennials, who form the target audience for many apps, the negative of very high data usage can trump any positives of functionality or design. An example mentioned is Pokemon Go, which got frequently deleted, despite its popularity, because of the data it kept eating up.
58. 25% of smartphone users delete apps because of a lack of storage space.
While app usage statistics point towards a few other important reasons why users delete apps like low utility, almost a quarter of the users in this survey also cited large app size as being an important reason. Many apps tend to bloat up because they want to offer features even when the phone is offline (like dictionaries for language-learning apps), but there is a fine line between providing critical offline components and making the app too big, which app developers should keep in mind.
- The Hindu Business Line
- Think Storage Now (pdf)
- App Annie
- App Annie
- Cult of Mac
- Content Marketing Institute
- Mobile App Daily
- App Annie
- Business of Apps
- Bank My Cell
- Business of Apps
- Business of Apps
- Sensor Tower
- Finances Online
- Tech Crunch
- App Annie