App statistics

Which smartphone apps were the most popular of the decade?


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App statistics

Smartphones have become essential to most of our lives. As well as bringing us the Internet and the ability to call someone no matter where we are in the world, they also come with all sorts of unique applications that provide us with tools, knowledge and services that were unthinkable even just 10 years ago.

So what are the statistics behind these apps that have increasingly shaped our lives? We’ve summarised all there is to know about smartphone apps for you below. And, if you’re in need of a good mobile plan to go with your smartphone, we can help you with that as well.

Quick facts

  • The average price of an app is £0.70.
  • 204 billion apps were downloaded worldwide in 2019.
  • The number of overall downloads steadily rises every year, with a 45% overall increase from 2016 to 2019.
  • The top 4 most downloaded apps of this decade are all owned by Facebook (Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram).

The most popular apps of the decade

Unsurprisingly, it seems that the apps that have ruled the Internet in the last decade have been social media apps, with Facebook emerging as the clear winner. Facebook does not only occupy the top two places on the podium, but the companies that it has acquired, WhatsApp and Instagram, also place within the top 4.

#1Picture not describedFacebookThis is the application that has ruled the social media landscape since 2010, with the most overall downloads worldwide this decade. Facebook also owns nearly all of the top 5 apps in this list and has thereby cemented its position as the world’s leading social media company.4.6 billion
#2Picture not describedFacebook MessengerThis separate messaging app for Facebook users is now almost equally as popular as the social media platform itself.4.4 billion
#3Picture not describedWhatsAppWhatsApp is one of the most popular and widely used chat applications worldwide and was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion.4.3 billion
#4Picture not describedInstagramThis popular photo sharing and social networking application was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion.2.7 billion
#5Picture not describedSnapchatSnapchat is the first app on this list that is not owned by Facebook.1.5 billion
#6Picture not describedSkypeAlthough Zoom has been gaining popularity, in terms if mobile app downloads, Skype continues to be the number one video-calling application – for now.1.3 billion
#7Picture not describedTikTokThis video sharing social networking app was only released in 2018 but already has over a billion regular users, making it the fastest growing app in the market to date.1.3 billion
#8Picture not describedUC BrowserThis mobile browsers dominates the market, particularly in Asia, where it is more popular than Google Chrome.1.3 billion
#9Picture not describedYouTubeThe YouTube app allows access to the biggest archive of videos on the planet and is the best performing app from Google.1.3 billion
#10Picture not describedTwitterTwitter works like a social media news feed. You can read the opinions of other users, find out the latest news and share your own views via “Tweets” about anything.1 billion

Other apps that we spend our time and money on

The app that users have spent the most amount of money on since 2010 is Netflix, followed by Tinder and Pandora Music. And you’ve probably played at least some of the top 10 most popular gaming apps, with Subway Surfers, Candy Crush Saga and Temple Run 2 at top of the list.

Facebook’s path to social media dominance

Ever wondered how Facebook managed to rise to the top and become one of the world’s leading social media platforms?

Most popular apps by country in June 2020

On average, the most popular paid-for app for both iOS and Android in June was Minecraft, while Tangle Master 3D was the most popular free smartphone app. For countries like Germany, Italy and Japan that have developed a COVID-19 tracing app, it’s unsurprising that that app was the most downloaded smartphone app in that country. Overall, there are no notable differences between iOS and Android downloads.

Country Free Paid
Australia Finger on the APP Minecraft
Canada Tangle Master 3D Minecraft
China Personal Income Tax App Killing the Buddha: A Devil's Thought
France Tangle Master 3D Minecraft
Germany Corona App
Italy Tangle Master 3D Minecraft
Japan Corona App Minecraft
Korea, South Kart Rider Rush + Football manager 2020
Netherlands Sonos Minecraft
Russia Tangle Master 3D Minecraft
Spain Tangle Master 3D Minecraft
Sweden Tangle Master 3D Procreate Pocket
Switzerland Swiss Covid iTheoryAuto
United Kingdom Tangle Master 3D Driving Theory Test
United States Finger on the APP Minecraft

App category distribution

The most popular category of apps is games, which make up 22% of all available apps. Business apps come in a not-so-close second, trailing with 10% in second place. Education and lifestyle apps tie for third, each representing roughly 9% of all available apps.

App categories Percentage of total apps available
Games 22.15%
Business 10.10%
Education 8.69%
Lifestyle 8.62%
Utilities 6.02%
Entertainment 5.84%
Travel 3.83%
Food & drink 3.43%


  • App-Annie
  • Business Insider
  • Computer Business Review
  • NDTV
  • Statista

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Head of UK communications
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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