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Karl Delagrange
in “ Mobile development“, 
January 27, 2022.

What are the most popular mobile apps?

Smartphone applications are all the rage. They make up an ecosystem onto themselves, constantly offering something new to meet our every need, from entertainment to communication, and from cooking to investing.

Various research institutes track data on the popularity of mobile apps, each breaking it down differently: according to whether they’re for Android or iOS; according to use and number of downloads; whether they are paying or free; in addition to which industries they serve—communications, training, books, games, travel, to name a few.

The most downloaded applications in 2021 globally

Across all categories and platforms, the most downloaded apps worldwide:

Rank Application Downloads
1 TikTok 656 million
2 Instagram 545 million
3 Facebook 416 million
4 WhatsApp 395 million
5 Telegram 329 million
6 Snapchat 327 million
7 Zoom 300 million
8 Facebook Messenger 268 million
9 CapCut 255 million
10 Spotify 203 million

Sources: SensorTower, Apptopia.

One fact remains throughout the successive rankings: TikTok’s popularity is growing. In fact, in late September 2021, the social network claimed to reach over one billion active users! Launched just four years ago by the Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok, like many of its competitors, has benefited from the effects of the lockdowns and school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most popular free apps in Canada

App Store

1 Move House 3D
2 Wordle!
3 TikTok
4 YouTube
5 Instagram
6 Facebook
7 Messenger
8 WhatsApp
9 Spotify
10 Snapchat

Play Store

1 TikTok
2 Instagram
3 Reddit
4 Twitter
5 Facebook
6 Facebook Lite
7 Bigo Live
8 IRL - Do More Together
9 Text Free: Call & Text Now
10 Text Me: Second Phone Number

Source: Similarweb (January 24, 2022).

This ranking was provided by SimilarWeb. SimilarWeb’s data, which is collected daily, is constantly evolving; that said, the major trends remain largely unchanged from day to day. SimilarWeb also provides a user-friendly tool that allows you to do very specific searches. Try looking for an application in the “Cars” category in the Play Store in Bermuda!

Hours spent toying with apps

Do you find it difficult to unplug from social media and put your phone aside a few hours a day? You’re in good company, especially if you live in Brazil or Indonesia, where over five hours of average daily usage have been clocked, which amounts to nearly 2,000 hours per year! In China or Germany, however, you’ll find that fewer of your peers are hooked on their cell phones.

Number of hours per day spent on applications

  1. Brazil: 5.4 hours
  2. Indonesia: 5.3 hours
  3. India: 4.9 hours
  4. South Korea: 4.8 hours
  5. Mexico: 4.7 hours
  6. Turkey: 4.5 hours
  7. Japan: 4.4 hours
  8. Canada: 4.1 hours
  9. United States: 3.9 hours
  10. United Kingdom: 3.8 hours
  11. Russia: 3.7 hours
  12. Argentina: 3.6 hours
  13. Australia: 3.5 hours
  14. France: 3.5 hours
  15. Germany: 3.5 hours
  16. China: 3.1 hours

Source: Forbes.

Big App: a big business

Mobile apps aren’t always free, and can generate huge revenues. According to SensorTower, in the first half of 2021, over $50 billion were spent in Apple’s App Store, and $29 billion in the Play Store.

The industry benefited hugely from the pandemic and from social restrictions, with a 25% increase in revenue compared to the same period last year. For example, during this period, the ever-popular TikTok topped the charts with more than $1B in revenue. That’s an increase of nearly 75% over the first half of 2020.

Stay posted to find out how things play out for mobile apps, given the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality and virtual reality, the impact of 5G, and other new developments. Whatever happens, one thing is certain: innovation will lead the way!

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