According to GSMA’s report, The Mobile Economy 2018, over 5 billion people are already connected to mobile services. It’s only been 10 years since the first mobile app store was launched, but there are billions of apps being downloaded every year. Business of Apps estimates that there were 197 billion mobile apps downloaded in 2017 worldwide. By 2021, that figure is expected to almost double to 352 billion.
There’s no doubt that the mobile revolution is well underway. Desktops are going the way of the dinosaur, and mobile is the future. But what categories of apps are the dominant ones moving into the next decade? Here are some interesting stats about the world’s most popular app categories.
This is by far the most popular category of mobile apps. As of Q3-2018, there were 7.21 billion games downloaded on Google Play alone. One fast-emerging category seems to be the online casino, which is understandable since most countries are slowly relaxing laws governing gambling as a whole. As of 2016 gambling was already a $45 billion industry, with Australia leading the field. New research also reveals that up to 97% of funds that players invest in these sites are returned to them, making them more popular than ever.
This is the next most popular mobile apps category, accounting for 1.45 billion Google Play downloads in Q3-2018. Productivity tools and other utilities form the foundation of any mobile device, so it’s only logical that this would be a popular category. And with both Google Play and Apple’s App Store now sporting over 2 billion apps each, it’s only going to grow bigger from here.
With digital media streaming taking over traditional entertainment, this is the next most popular app category. A lot of that growth has been contributed to by companies like Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet (Google), all of whom continue to push the boundaries on streaming quality. Currently, YouTube is the most downloaded entertainment app, with more than 156 million monthly active users as of July 2018.
Times are changing, and so are our channels of communication. Messaging apps represent that change, as well as video conferencing and other chat and media-sharing services. The world’s most popular messaging app is WhatsApp, followed by Facebook Messenger, then WeChat, Viber and LINE bringing up the rear in the Top 5.
Not surprisingly, with all the dramatic improvements in smartphone camera technology over the past few years, photography has emerged as the next most popular mobile apps category. Dual cameras, triple cameras and even quad cameras like the Samsung Galaxy A9 are becoming the order of the day as premium smartphone makers push the limits on digital mobile photography and camera sensor technology.
Mobile apps are definitely taking over the market. The biggest challenge now is to port decades of desktop applications into mobile. It will take a few years, but companies like Microsoft and Google are already hard at work trying to make it happen. In the meantime, mobile apps will continue to rule the roost and vie for space on our home screens.