The mobile app industry has witnessed unprecedented growth in recent years due to the fact that more than 6.4 billion people worldwide use smartphones; in fact, this number is forecasted to exceed 7.7 billion by 2028. The use of apps and smartphone penetration continue to increase almost steadily, with no future signs of slowing down.

Take a minute to glance up from your phone during the day, and you will be certain to find almost everyone around you staring at a mobile device; yes, it is that crazy.

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The mobile app statistics get even more shocking if we add a total of 1.14 billion tablet users in the world, a figure that has also increased by 36 percent since 2010.

App Download Statistics & Usage Statistics

I can tell you for a fact that in one of the research I read, the average American looks at their phone 144 times per day; although that one is on a decline since 2021, probably the only stats in this article on a decline, it’s not, I’m just kidding 😂.

Frankly, we all check our phones in the office, in our staff quarters, while walking in the street, while eating, while sleeping in bed, and even while driving; I am guilty of the driving part as well, but please be careful. It is possible that you are currently reading this article on a mobile phone too, or indeed, you really are, aren’t you?

App Download Statistics & Usage Statistics

You have got to wonder what people are doing with their mobile devices that have provoked this addiction. I think I have an idea because around 88% of mobile screen time is spent on apps, according to InsiderIntelligence, so they are using apps, apps! That is it!

I feel this a good news for app creators, app publishers, and even readers who intend to create an app. However, if you have ever considered mobile app development as a business, you should understand that, for one to amass long-term success in this niche, there are two things that need to happen:

  • Users need to download the published apps.
  • And users need to use the downloaded apps often.

These two apparently simple actions became the motivation behind the comprehensive statistics you are currently reading. Yes, people use applications more than ever. However, that barely scratches the surface regarding the amount of data that is available on this usage. You cannot build an application using only this information.

It is similar to saying, “People build houses a lot. Therefore, I will start selling wood.”

In order to compete and take your fair cut from this multi-billion dollar industry, and I really want you to, you need to know precisely how people download and use mobile apps and, most importantly, how the app itself is created.

Take advantage of the research that I’ve listed in this guide to improve or create a mobile application.

2024 most important mobile app statistics

Mobile App Usage ( In-Depth Insight)

A median smartphone user uses their device for 3 hours and 10 minutes a day. Of this time, around 2 hours and 51 minutes are spent on apps which make up almost 90% of usage.

The research indicates that there are more than 80 apps installed on the average smartphone. However, that would mean people aren’t using all of those apps.

App Download Statistics & Usage Statistics

On average, a person uses 9 mobile apps per day and 30 apps per month.

This means that in the case of smartphone users with 80 apps, over 62% of those apps are not used at least once per month.

Apps are being downloaded but not used. Moreover, 25% of the downloaded apps are used once and then never used again; this applies to you if you think about it: you visit the app store, download an app, open it for the first time, and abandon the app for life or completely forget that you downloaded an app earlier.

As we move forward with this guide, we’ll look deeper into app usage stats.

Mobile App Retention Insight

We have just learned that while an app may be downloaded, this does not guarantee further use. This may be already familiar situation to some readers, especially if you are a developer and your application has already been published on the mobile app stores.

You might have experienced early success in terms of downloads in the app, but you are facing the issue of not being able to make money from your app because people are not using the app. It is a widespread issue that I often come across in consultations with app creators.

However, what would you know if this is your case? The best way to quantify it is with retention and churn.

After downloading an app, 71 % of the app users churn within a period of 90 days; even though specific thresholds slightly differ between different industries, in general, the average 30-day Retention Rate of mobile apps is about 42%, while 25% can be considered the average 90-day Retention Rate. Industry breakdowns are available for all 30-day rates, ranging from 27% to 43% while the remaining 32% and 66% for higher-performing apps.

Mobile App Retention Rate

How does this translate to you and your app?

Overall, these metrics need to be monitored. Give the users a good enough reason to return and use your app in the future.

You cannot achieve total retention, so you will always need to find new ways of getting fresh downloads. While this is the case, it does not mean that you should be neglecting current users.

But if your app causes poor performance, glitches, bugs, or UX flaws, people will be churned more readily. Of course, top apps have bugs on occasion. However, it is your obligation to point out those mistakes. Design updates and future iterations to increase efficiency and quality of use.

The Most Essential Mobile Apps

Speaking about the popularity of an app, earlier, we considered it from the aspect of what is available (in terms of the number of applications) and category penetration.

However, people who are using them are not the intended audience. In fact, mere downloading of the files to use them does not imply use. As we have already discussed, there are the data that proves that point.

So now I would like to show you the list of essential mobile apps that most smartphone owners claim they can’t do without.

Infographic: The Apps Americans Can't Live Without | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

This list makes sense if you look at it. All the leading apps have their own specific purpose and can be used as a part of one’s daily routine.

  • For social media, Facebook and Instagram.
  • Gmail for email communication
  • YouTube for video content
  • Maps for navigation
  • Amazon for online purchases
  • Messenger and WhatsApp for instant messaging.
  • Chrome for browsing the Internet
  • Personally, I cannot recommend creating an app that is competitive with one of these top apps to those who would like to create a mobile application.

It is not bad to aim at the stars. You have all the opportunities left to create a mobile commerce app for your business and be successful. However, it would be quite a steeper climb, at least if you wanted your app to be the next Amazon.

Is it possible to develop an app with GPS map services? Sure. Will it be more successful than Google Maps? I do not think so, but that’s just me; I am not God.

Apple iPhone and Google Android Global Spending

As is evident above, there are distinct differences in download and use between iOS and Android app development. The question is, why?

Well, the users are different. When you compare Apple iOS and Android users, you will see that they act in various ways.

Apple iPhone and Google Android Global Spending

First, let’s focus on the consumers’ spending behavior on their devices. Here’s the latest data from Q3 2022:

  • Google Play Store Gross App Revenue: $12.1 billion
  • Apple App Store Gross App Revenue: $21.5 billion

These are figures from paid downloads, subscriptions, and in-app purchases.

Despite a low market share of mobile apps, Apple users seem to purchase more. Apple dominates the spending on apps, at about twice the rate of Android users.

Although your app needs to be appealing to all users, you’ll stand a better chance of converting iOS app users to buy premium upgrades and other in-app purchases than Android, and this is not a shade in any way; the stats backed it.

Mobile App Usage by Age

According to Simform, Gen Z (younger adults) spends more time on apps than Millenials (older adults)

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It is also likely that you had an assumption that the youth spends more mobile app time than older people. If this is true, that assumption was also right.

But, of course, that does not imply that you will not be able to hit other age groups. From the figure below, it is evident that people aged 45-54 years consume mobile applications for about an hour and 15 minutes per day. It is only 27 minutes less as compared to adults aged 25-34.

Mobile users aged 65 and older similarly spend just under an hour per day on mobile apps.

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Mobile App Usage by Device

Mobile habits vary in ways that span beyond one’s ability to access mobile applications. Apart from the differences between the operating systems, the applications will also vary on the basis of the kinds of mobile devices that people use.

Smartphone App Usage Statistics

People have smartphones, tablets, personal computers, and laptops. You can even connect to content and apps from smart TVs, watches, smart home devices, and smart cars.

However, there are some categories where smartphone app usage fully prevails. These are the leading areas in which people tend to use their smartphones:

Smartphone App Usage Statistics

96% of the digital time spent on maps in the United States came from smartphones. 86% of digital weather information was consumed via smartphone apps too.

When one goes out and about, it is clear that a smartphone is the best option for traveling and using maps and GPS services since they are inseparable.

However, if you scroll down this list a bit more, you will notice other categories that are not as apparent.

For instance, 47% of retail consumption is from smartphone apps. Despite all the avenues available for online shopping, the number of people who use smartphones remains high.

Another category that catches my eye is news and information. Although smartphone usage is just more than 40%, it is significant compared to other platforms and outlets. Let’s asses Mobile Phone Vs Tablet

Mobile Phone vs. tablets

There are a number of differences between smartphones and tablets also

If you recall, earlier, I mentioned that the number of smartphones in the world today is two times more than the number of tablets (2.7 billion versus 1.35 billion). However, table usage is showing signs of matching smartphones.

Mobile Phone vs. tablets

Individuals download more apps on their smartphones and use more smartphone applications on a monthly basis. As shown in the picture, however, tablets are not that much behind.

Looking at the fact that smartphones are almost always just an arm’s length away, it is only logical that they will be used more.

Nevertheless, tablets slightly win over smartphones in the segment of paid apps or subscription purchases made through the app. This could be a category that the tablets will always lead in future years.

Mobile App Usage Statistics by Country

As is with most things, behavior adapts to and differs because of the type of place one is in. This same idea can be applicable to app usage.

We will analyze it and see what kind of mobile application, in which regions of the world, can be used. With this kind of information, you could learn about the target audience or even get an insight into the new markets as a potential opportunity for your promotional campaign.

App Downloads by Country

In China, in the last four years, the prevalence of app downloads has increased by 80% per statista.

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However, other developing countries such as India, Indonesia, and Brazil have all posted impressive growth in their economies. This can be clearly seen from the above graph, as India’s rate of growth for app downloads over the same period is a staggering 190%. This is compared to only a 5% rate in the US. According to Data Ai, 2019 actually shattered mobile records, and it’s been upward since then.

In other representations, with the development of technology and higher accessibility rates of the same among emerging market consumers located around the world, targeting international consumers with an app is still an attractive solution for certain business categories.

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Monthly App Usage Statistics

If you look at the amount of time people spend using mobile apps in various countries around the world, you will be shocked, just as I was.

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From many standpoints, this graph reflects great similarities to the previous graphs we have seen before. With more and more downloads in India, it is only logical that the users would also spend some sort of time using such apps.

There is one thing, however, which holds true for all these nations. The time mobile apps take is developing yearly, for instance, in a country like Italy, which has a minimum population compared to India. However, both these markets also exhibited an average of 30% spent time using apps from 2019-2020.

App Store vs. Google Play (iOS vs. Android) Downloads Stats

The global market share is mainly dominated by Android. That’s why, it’s not surprising that the lion’s share of app downloads in the whole world takes place through the Google Play Store.

Interesting data is that Apple wins hands down vs. Google Play worldwide downloads. Do not take my word for it; read this comprehensive report by Sensor Tower.

Looking at the chart below, you can see that we are at about an equal 50-50 ratio in America. Google Play Store dominates every other part of the world, but in Japan, however, Apple App Store downloads have a strong claim.

Now, Let us access Download Statistics

Mobile App Downloads (In-Depth Statistics)

If you build an app and you have no users or downloads, how do you become successful as a developer?

This may seem to be a straightforward question; as a developer, You may often find yourself guilty of neglecting this fact. Even if you have the most horrendous app in the universe and people continue downloading it, you will keep making money.

Therefore, before you even start getting people to download your app, you need first to invest enough time in conducting in-depth research. Here I present the most important mobile app download statistics for 2024 that will help you get off the ground.

Global App Downloads Statistics

People in nearly all parts of the earth have resorted to using smartphones and tablets.

The tendency to download mobile applications is also growing in popularity from country to country due to mobile app use.

Global App Downloads Statistics 2023

App downloads are growing every year. This tendency will also continue in the next years.

In the previous year, there were more than 218 billion app downloads. This is about a 7% growth from the previous year.

From the figure above, there was a 55% increase between 2016 and 2020. The annual growth rate is not as steep, but it is still going up.

Free vs. Paid App Downloads Statics

First, when you’re developing a mobile app, one of the most important decisions is your app monetization strategy.

You are building an app for that reason, aren’t you?

You may have even considered the idea of charging people for downloading apps. However, will people download your app and pay for it?

Let’s consider the difference between free and paid apps. Almost all of the world’s downloads are totally free.

In reality, over 98% of mobile app revenue throughout the world is generated from free apps. Only a few individuals are ready to purchase downloads.

Free vs. Paid App Downloads Statics

I am not saying you should never consider the possibility of a paid app. Both approaches are beneficial in terms of the kind of app that you have.

Initially, if you charge for downloads, fewer mobile users will download the app. This is because most people are used to being given free downloads.

Just consider your personal mobile device. Are there any apps that you have paid to install? You are in the minority if you do so.

On the other hand, those who download paid apps tend to be more engaged. They are not going to buy something and then leave it idle.

However, downloads do not have to be charged to earn money from your app.

If you already own a business and have an app that acts as a supplement to that business for the purpose of improving the customer experience, then yes, you should be giving away free downloads.

Mobile app users are not supposed to pay for their downloads. This is due to the fact that the majority of apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store are given free of charge.

Free vs. Paid App Downloads Statics

The above graph is made from a study done by Statista as of the month of December 2023.

Free apps can be used as a pre-IPO startup for a new app idea. Even if you introduce your app as a free app, you can still generate revenue if you offer it for free. There are numerous other monetization options, including in-app purchases.

If your app is an ecommerce tool, check out the latest mobile commerce revenue and usage statistics.

Google Play vs. App Store Downloads

Most mobile users are downloading apps from two locations, and without mentioning, you can already tell it’s almighty Google Play and the App Stores, even though there are other App store alternatives.

Compare these two platforms in terms of global app downloads:

Google Play vs. App Store Downloads

Globally, there are more downloads that originate from the Google Play Store. However, as it is evident from the graph above, the percentage of downloads decreased in both stores from 2021 to 2022, and that’s understandable as the world was just getting out of the pandemic; in the previous year of 2020 and 2021, you will notice a massive increase in downloads across both stores.

Google Play vs. App Store Downloads Stats

The growth rate for Google Play Store downloads was 31%, whereas Apple App Store had a growth of 2.5%.

Briefly, the Google Play Store downloads are higher and it is growing faster.

These trends are likely to prevail in 2024

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Apple App Store Download Statistics

To begin with, we’ve already compared the two app stores as to how they differ. However, now it’s time to drill down these figures even more and deepen the analysis of each app ecosystem.

First, we turn to the Apple App Store download total.

Most Prevalent App Store Categories

For your business app to be successful, you need to know what the consumers are looking for. This is more so for a new application.

Your app may be revolutionary in terms of software or the concept behind it, but if there’s no market for its usage, then you will have severe trouble getting downloads.

To start with, you should know which category of apps is downloaded more frequently. The following categories are the most popular ones on the Apple App Store according to their percentage availability.

Most Prevalent App Store Categories
The gaming category is the most dominant in the App Store.

However, unless you are planning to develop a new app from zero, you will most probably not build a game app. For instance, if you have an online shop. Your business app should not include a gaming section in your app just to be classified in a more popular category.

Depending on the purpose and functionalities of your app, your app category has to be appropriate; if you miscategorize your app features, It is most likely that your app submission will be rejected. If you are a business or lifestyle application owner, you cannot classify your application as a game in an attempt to have an increased number of downloads.

In reality, if you do not specify the category pertaining to your app’s main purpose, you violate the App Store review guidelines.

Failure to comply with these conditions could have your app deleted from the App Store. Of course, no one will be able to download your app if this happens.

Therefore do not try to cheat the system. Your app can still be a great success if it is not in one of the leading categories. If you have the necessary market strategies, you may be able to focus on a less crowded niche category and dominate a greater proportion of a smaller market.

Apple App Store Availability

As I have already said, the mobile app business is very competitive.

However, how many of such apps are going to be competing? Check the number of apps on the Apple App Store.

Apple App Store Availability

The number of apps available in a given year is increasing with each passing year, as seen in the image above; if you are building an app as of 2024, you will be competing with almost 4 million existing apps on the Apple app store alone.

All figures above point in an upward direction, and the trajectory is clear. Every individual has a mobile device these days, and the downloading of apps is at a record high. Therefore, it is logical to note that more apps are directed to the market.

So, is the increase in downloads because more apps are there? Or is it because so many other apps have been released that there are all these different apps?

It is difficult to say, but it can be argued either way. This will be clearer once we analyze the Google Play Store.

Google Play Store Download Statistics

Next, we are going to see the download counts of Android devices.

I did a comprehensive research and came up with a detailed analysis of the Google Play Store.

Google Play Store Availability

We have concluded the discussion of the availability of the Apple App Store. I would like to start by giving you a quick look at the total number of apps available to download from the Google Play Store as of December 2023.

Google Play Store Availability

From the given graph, it is clear that this category does not portray the same trend line as Apple for the same category. As a matter of fact, we had a downward trend post-mid-2017 and fell even harder in 2018. This number of apps has been increasing steadily since then until it fell again in 2021.

Why is this happening?

There is intense competition in the Google Play Store. Certain apps just could not make it through.

I am not inclined to imagine any more downward trend. Given the trend line from 2009 to 2023’ worth of information presented above, it is logical to conclude that the trend will continue for a long time.

As we have already noticed, the data for Google Play Store downloads kept growing despite the fact that there had been a decrease in the number of apps available to be downloaded during this same period.

Let’s link this with Apple. While the number of Apple App Store apps that are available is growing each year, the percentage of download growth rate has been lower in comparison to Android’s Google Play Store. Nevertheless, based on the above information, I think it’s safe to say that the number of apps in each store does not correlate with the increase in app downloads at large.

Google Play Store Most Popular App Categories

Penetration can be used to measure the success of an app category. As demonstrated by Statista, these app categories have the highest penetration rate among Android users. Let’s take a look at the top 30 categories as an example

  1. Tools — 99.81%
  2. Communication — 99.93%
  3. Business Apps — 99.33%
  4. Video Players & Edit— 96.63%
  5. Travel & Local — 95.7%
  6. Social Media Apps — 95.02%
  7. Productivity — 91.67%
  8. Music & Audio — 88.38%
  9. Entertainment — 83.85%
  10. News & Magazines — 81.11%
  11. Photography — 75.77%
  12. Books & Reference — 70.74%
  13. Lifestyle — 65.67%
  14. Personalization — 61.62%
  15. Games (Casual) — 58.86%
  16. Games (Puzzle) — 56.5%
  17. Games (Arcade) — 55.08%
  18. Shopping — 35.79%
  19. Games (Action) — 34.19%
  20. Weather — 32.46%
  21. Games (Racing) — 30.83%
  22. Sports — 30.44%
  23. Education — 29.28%
  24. Finance — 25.75%
  25. Health & Fitness — 23.17%
Google Play Store Most Popular  App Categories
Full list available on statists here.

However, some of these categories that are designed for leading Android apps should be taken with a pinch of salt. For instance, consider the main groups on the list. Those apps (communicative apps, for instance) are probably installed on all Android devices by default by manufacturers.

However, apart from that, this list provides a clue as to the categories of downloaded apps by Android users (applications like WhatsApp, Snapchat, Netflix, TikTok, Spotify, and Tinder). Yet, simply because an application has been downloaded to a device, this doesn’t suggest that it is in use. We discussed this notion in detail earlier when we were talking about mobile app usage statistics.

Mobile App Revenue Statistics

One of the most dynamically growing and, as some may say, the most obvious factor of proliferation in the digital economy is the app economy, powered by technological breakthroughs and changing consumer behaviors.

In this section, we will drive in-depth Mobile App Revenue statistics; this is actually my final straw to convince you why you need to build a mobile app.

Forecasted Global App Revenue

According to Statista, mobile app revenue worldwide in 2024 is projected to be more than $522 billion as compared to about $404 billion in 2021. This shows an outstanding CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 29.21%, indicating that this market has high growth prospects.

Forecasted Global App Revenue
Source: Statista

Revenue Breakdown by App Category

The domination of gaming applications continues; Newzoo forecast a global mobile gaming revenue of $117.8 billion in 2023. Besides gaming apps, there is an impressive trend among non-gaming apps led by categories such as Entertainment and Lifestyle boosted with subscription-based monetization.

The Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow largely on the back of emerging markets such as India and Indonesia and contribute significantly to the global app revenue. Smartphone penetration and consumer purchasing power have remained strong in the North American and European regions, allowing them to continue to contribute to overall revenue generation processes.

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It is projected that the majority of revenue will come from in-app advertising and the freemium model. Nevertheless, paid downloads are also projected to grow their role due to consumer willingness to pay for distinct, high-quality content.

The transformative possibilities of the global app market continue to come into sharper focus. With the changes in app usage behaviors, along with the rapid development of global digital transformation, the performance of app revenue is also expected to soar. By 2024, stakeholders in the app market will be required to position themselves in a strategic way to take advantage of the clear opportunities presented.

Wrapping Up

Mobile applications have become an integral part of our daily routines, and the trend does not seem to stop in 2024. Indeed, the year is set to be another monumental one for the mobile app industry.

While mobile usage and market penetration are currently at their peak, all the data analyzed suggests the only way from here is up; if you are considering app development, yesterday was the best time to start, and the next best time is now.

This upward trend bodes well for anyone who owns a mobile app or plans on creating one. However, successful app development and management require staying abreast of the latest research and industry trends.

Consider this guide your go-to resource for understanding; this is a guide that is regularly updated every quarter. to ensure information in the mobile app industry regarding downloads, usage, and revenue are up to date.

If 2024 is the year you have chosen to develop an app, Swiftspeed is ready to help facilitate your journey. Our app builder platform allows the simultaneous creation of iOS and Android apps without you needing to write a single code.

What key performance indicators are you using to track your mobile app’s usage statistics?

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