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The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

Speaking at the 1983 International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado, a 28-year-old Steve Jobs described a future in which consumers could purchase and download the software directly from their computers. 25 years later, in 2008, Apple launched the Apple App Store, Google launched Google Play (née Android Market), and the mobile app economy was officially introduced to global markets.

In this article, we take a measuring stick to the mobile app landscape, analyzing where it stands 12 years after the debut of the world’s largest, most popular app stores. To make sure we’re all on the same page, we’ll begin with a brief definition of the app economy. Then, we’ll breakdown the current state of the app economy and app markets, by answering the following questions:

  1. What does the mobile app economy look like today?

  2. Which app categories have had the best year?

  3. Which app categories have had the worst year?

  4. Which app developers are dominating global markets?

  5. Which apps are dominating global markets?

  6. Which SDKs are empowering the most apps?

So, with that, let’s begin!

What is the app economy?

Put succinctly, the mobile app economy refers to the range of economic activities stemming from the development and distribution of mobile apps and games. The app economy includes device manufacturers, operating system developers, app distribution platforms (i.e. the Apple App Store, Google Play, etc.), mobile app and game publishers, software companies and API/SDK developers, ad networks and other mobile advertising companies, app data and analytics companies, and more.

What does the mobile app economy look like today?

According to Statista, the global app economy is on track to reach an estimated value of USD $6.3 trillion in 2021 (up from USD $3.3 trillion in 2019), with roughly USD $693 billion in annual revenue.

Of course, considering the way 2020 has played out, all estimates should be taken with a rather sizable grain of salt. While the app economy was better positioned to weather the coronavirus storm than most industries, the ultimate effects are, as of yet, unknown.

For instance, while ride-sharing, travel, and navigation apps like Lyft, Uber, AirBnB, and Waze are set to take a big hit, others have flourished under lockdown. Indeed, entertainment, video chat, news, health, and delivery apps have all experienced incredible growth. Most notable, of course, are digital communications platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Coronavirus App Download Statistics: Microsoft Teams Thrives

In other words, the effects of coronavirus on the global app economy could go either way; and it’s quite possible that the pandemic has actually accelerated a number of positive economic trends, such as remote work, that pre-exist lockdown. Thus, the success of Microsoft Teams, Netflix, and Zoom could prove far more predictive of the future of the app economy than the faltering of Airbnb and Uber.

Consider this. According to Apple, since April 2019, the iOS app economy managed to create 300,000 new jobs in the United States alone. Despite government imposed lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing, the App Store ecosystem now supports over 2.1 million jobs across all 50 states.

In any event, if we are to predict what the future holds with any accuracy, it’s important to understand the current state of the app economy and app markets. So, to begin our investigation, we’ll take a look at the most important mobile app distribution platforms — the app stores!

While the Apple App Store and Google Play remain the most popular places to download mobile apps and games, they are by no means the only places to do so. In addition to the big guys, we at 42matters track app market data from the Amazon Appstore, Amazon FireTV, Apple tvOS App Store, the Roku Channel Store, and the Tencent Appstore. Let’s look at each one individually.

1. Apple App Store

Following the success of the iTunes digital music store, the Apple App Store, which made its debut in 2008, became one of the world’s first commercially successful mobile app marketplaces. Today it connects millions of iOS device users to millions of mobile apps and games from developers and publishers all over the world.

How Many Apps Are on the Apple App Store?

The Apple App Store offers 1,752,963 apps.

How Many App Publishers Are on the Apple App Store?

1,358,885 app developers have published their apps on the Apple App Store.

What Is the Distribution of Apps Versus Games on Apple App Store?

Of the 1,752,963 apps available on the Apple App Store, 249,961 are gaming apps and 1,503,002 are non-gaming apps.

How Many Apps Are Published on the Apple App Store per Day?

An average of 1,120 new apps are released on the Apple App Store every day.

All data was pulled September 14, 2020. For the latest App Store stats, check out our store stats pages.

2. Google Play

Launched in 2008, Google Play was a direct response to the Apple App Store, which had gone to market just a few months earlier. It serves as the official app store for the Android operating system, enabling users to browse and download mobile apps and games developed with the Android software development kit (SDK).

How Many Apps Are on Google Play?

Google Play offers 3,397,932 apps.

How Many App Publishers Are on Google Play?

758,867 app developers have published their apps on Google Play.

What Is the Distribution of Apps Versus Games on Google Play?

Of the 3,397,932 apps available on Google Play, 434,918 are gaming apps and 2,963,013 are non-gaming apps.

How Many Apps Are Published on Google Play per Day?

An average of 3,266 new apps are released on Google Play every day.

All data was pulled September 14, 2020. For the latest Google Play stats, check out our store stats pages.

3. Amazon Appstore

In 2011, following the success of companies like Google and Apple in the digital entertainment and mobile application space, Amazon launched the Amazon Appstore. It serves Android- and Fire OS-enabled devices, such as the Kindle Fire tablet and a host of BlackBerry products.

The Amazon Appstore now boasts a catalog of over 600,000 mobile apps and games.

For more Amazon Appstore stats, check out our store stats pages.

4. Amazon FireTV

Amazon’s first Fire TV was launched in early 2014. It was the company’s response to the digital streaming trend that culminated in the Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Roku’s various streaming devices and smart appliances, and more.

Currently, there are over 9,900 apps available on Amazon FireTV.

For more Amazon FireTV stats, check out our store stats pages.

 

5. Apple TV tvOS App Store

Apple has been particularly innovative in the digital entertainment space. Building off the wild success of iTunes and the Apple App store, the company launched the Apple TV digital media player in 2007 and the tvOS operating system in 2015.

To date, the Apple TV tvOS App Store offers more than 12,600 apps.

For more Apple TV tvOS App Store stats, check out our store stats pages.

 

6. Roku Channel Store

The Roku connected TV revolutionized home entertainment. Founded in Los Gatos, California in 2002, their diverse catalog of products now covers everything from streaming devices, to smart-TVs, to high-end audio solutions.

However, their real moneymaker is the Roku Channel Store, which allows users to add their favorite “channels” to their Roku and Roku-powered devices in the same manner as the Apple App Store enables Apple device users to download their favorite apps across their entire profile. 

The Roku Channel Store currently offers over 19,500 apps.

For more Roku Channel Store stats, check out our store stats pages.

7. Tencent Appstore

Not only is Tencent the world's largest gaming company, they are also one of the world's largest social media companies and one of the world's largest venture capital firms and investment corporations.

In 2011, the company launched the Tencent Appstore, which was based on a reworked version of the company’s Tencent QQ, an instant messaging service and web portal. The new appstore facilitates the download of apps for Android, iOS, Symbian, and Windows devices.

Today the platform boasts over 200 million active users and more than 86,000 mobile games.

For more Tencent Appstore stats, check out our store stats pages.

 

Which Android app categories have had the best year? Which Android app categories have had the worst year?

Moving on, we’ll now take a look at which Android app categories have had the most success, as well as which have had the most trouble, over the last 12 months. These numbers are determined by the number of app downloads for each category.


The Best 5 Upward-trending Google Play App Categories by Downloads from 09/2019 – 08/2020:

op upward-trending Android categories — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

So far, the “Auto and vehicles” category has had the best year, registering a whopping 149.43% growth in downloads. This is followed by “Dating” at 52.65%, “Business” at 36.62%, “Art and design” at 46.44%, and “Entertainment” at 36.62%.


The 5 Most Downward-trending Google Play App Categories by Downloads from 09/2019 – 08/2020

Top downward-trending Android categories — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

Now for the categories that have struggled. “Maps and navigation,” as mentioned earlier, took the biggest hit, registering a 20.32% decline in downloads. This was followed by “Travel and local,” which dropped by 7.11%; “Libraries and demo,” which dropped by 6%; “Comics,” which dropped by 5.57%; and “Communication,” which dropped by 4.46%.

All data was pulled September 14, 2020. For more on Android app category trends, check out our website.

 

Which app developers are dominating global markets?

We’ve taken a look at some of the world’s largest app markets and ranked the top five Android developers based in each country. We’ve determined our rankings by estimating how many times their apps have been downloaded in total.

1. United States

1.Google LLC — 178 apps, 135+ billion downloads

2.Facebook — 22 apps, 13+ billion downloads

3.Microsoft Corporation — 94 apps, 7.5+ billion downloads

4.WhatsApp Inc. — 3 apps, 6+ billion downloads

5.Instagram — 6 apps, 3.4+ billion downloads

2. China

1.Xiaomi Inc. — 18 apps, 3.2+ billion downloads

2.Huawei Internet Services — 7 apps, 2.7+ billion downloads

3.UCWeb Singapore Pte. Ltd. — 3 apps, 1.3+ billion downloads

4.Best Free Video Editor & Video Maker Dev — 14 apps, 890+ million downloads

5.Huawei Internet Service — 11 apps, 800+ million downloads

3. India

1.Smart Media4U Technology Pte.Ltd. — 4 apps, 1.5+ billion downloads

2.Samsung R&D Institute India Noida — 10 apps, 1.1+ billion downloads

3.Jio Platforms Limited — 28 apps, 900+ million downloads

4.Novi Digital — 5 apps, 458+ million downloads

5.Airtel — 14 apps, 422+ million downloads

4. United Kingdom

1.Spotify Ltd. — 8 apps, 860+ million downloads

2.SwiftKey — 2 apps, 693+ million downloads

3.Badoo — 2 apps, 263+ million downloads

4.Wasabi — 181 apps, 183+ million downloads

5.IMDb — 2 apps, 153+ million downloads

5. Germany

1.SoundCloud — 2 apps, 302+ million downloads

2.upday GmbH & Co. KG — 3 apps, 137+ million downloads

3.TeamViewer — 192 apps, 126+ million downloads

4.RARLAB (published by win.rar GmbH) — 1 app, 118+ million downloads

5.Joyride Dating — 7 apps, 117+ million downloads


For the latest country-specific app publisher insights, check out our website.

Which apps are dominating global markets?

On to the apps! We’ve ranked the five most popular Android apps, in terms of estimated total downloads for five of the largest global app markets.

1. United States

1.Zoom Cloud Meetings — zoom.us

2.TikTok - Trends Start Here — TikTok Inc.

3.Google Meet - Secure Video Meetings — Google LLC

4.Google Classroom — Google LLC

5.Cash App — Square, Inc.

2. China

1.Wang VPN ❤️- Free Fast Stable Best VPN Just try it — 老王

2.Twitter — Twitter, Inc.

3.Wang VPN Lite Version ❤️- Fresh and Simple Style. — 老王

4.YouTube — Google LLC

5.Google Chrome: Fast & Secure — Google LLC

3. India

1.Snack Video — Symphony Tech Pte. Ltd.

2.Google Meet - Secure Video Meetings — Google LLC

3.Josh - Made in India | Short Video App — Dailyhunt - India ka app, India ke liye!

4.MX TakaTak- Short Video App by MX Player — MX Media (formerly J2 Interactive)

5.Zoom Cloud Meetings — zoom.us

4. United Kingdom

1.Lidl Plus — Lidl Digital International GmbH & Co. KG

2.Protect Scotland — NHS Education for Scotland

3.Microsoft Team — Microsoft Corporation

4.QR & Barcode Scanner — Gamma Play

5.Zoom Cloud Meetings — zoom.us

5. Germany

1.Lidl Plus — Lidl Digital International GmbH & Co. KG

2.QR & Barcode Reader — TeaCapps

3.NINA - Die Warn-App des BBK — Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz (Deutschland)News & Magazines

4.Netto: Angebote & DeutschlandCard Punkte einlösen — Netto Marken-Discount AG & Co. KG

5.Corona-Warn-App — Robert Koch-Institut

For the latest country-specific app market statistics, be sure to visit our website.

 

Which SDKs are empowering the most apps?

Last, but certainly not least, SDKs! Short for Software Development Kits, SDKs play an increasingly important role in the mobile app ecosystem, enabling everything from app monetization to app development.

At 42matters, we track 1,432 SDKs across 13 different SDK categories. So, we’ve ranked the most popular Android SDKs, in terms of market share, for 10 of these categories. Here are the top three SDKs for each:

 

1. Ad Network

1.Google Ads AdMob — Google LLC

Top Ad Network SDKs — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

2.Facebook Audience Network — Facebook

Top Ad Network SDKs — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

3.Unity Ads — Unity Technologies

Top Ad Network SDKs — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

 

2. Analytics

1.Google Firebase — Google LLC

Google Firebase - Top Analytics SDKs

2.Google Analytics — Google LLC

Google Anayltics — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

3.Fabric Crashlytics — Google LLC

abric Crashlytics — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

3. Attribution

1.AppsFlyer — AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

2.Branch - Tune — Branc.io

Branch - Tune — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

3.Adjust — Adjust

Adjust — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

4. Commerce

1.Google Play In-app billing — Google LLC

Google in-App Billing — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

2.Google Play License Verification Library — Google LLC

Google License Verification — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

 

3.Stripe — Stripe

Stripe — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

5. Communication

1.OneSignal — OneSignal

OneSignal — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

2.Intercom — Intercom

Intercom — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

3.Urban Airship — Airship

Urban Airship — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

6. Marketing Automation

1.Intercom — Intercom

Intercom — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

2.Branch - Tune — Branc.io

Branch - Tune — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

3.Pushwoosh — Pushwoosh

Pushwoosh — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

7. Data Intelligence

1.Radius Networks — Radius Networks

Radius Networks — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

2.Kontakt.io — Kontakt.io

Kontakt io — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

3.Estimote — Estimote

Estimote — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

8. Backend

1.Google Firebase — Google LLC

Firebase — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

2.Amazon AWS — Amazon Web Services, Inc.

Amazon AWS — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

3.Parse — Parse

Parse — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

9. CRM

1.Adobe Experience Manager — Adobe

Adobe — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

 

2.Intercom — Intercom

Intercom — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

3.Zendesk — Zendesk

Zendesk — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

10. Social

1.Facebook — Facebook

Facebook — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

2.Fabric — Google LLC

Fabric — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

3.Google Play Game Services — Google LLC

Google Play Game Services — The State of the App Economy and App Markets in 2020

To see every SDK that we track, check out the Supported SDKs page on our website!

 

What’s the bottom line?

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that predictions are very, very hard to make. Especially for something as intricate as the mobile app economy. So, we’ll leave our grander prognostications where they lie, except to say that it’s quite possible that the global app economy comes out of 2020 relatively strong.

Indeed, many of the pre-pandemic world’s most interesting social and economic trends — remote work, decentralized entertainment, the rise of dating apps, the preeminence of social media, etc. — have proven to be incredibly resilient.

That’s not to say the mobile app landscape will come out completely unscathed. Some of the top publishers in the world have struggled to stay afloat. Airbnb, for instance, laid off roughly 25% of its workforce and had to raise about $2 billion in equity and debt to bolster its balance sheet.

Moreover, there are far more serious threats to the app economy than government lockdowns and social distancing. Mark Zuckerberg and his Silicon Valley compatriots can’t go more than a few months without getting hauled in front of the United States Congress; a budding “Tech Cold War” between the United States and China has led to increased scrutiny of China-based tech giants like TikTok and Huawei; and, as the recent allegations against Mintegral demonstrate, ad fraud and user privacy are likely to plague the industry for years to come.

Want to do your own research on the state of the app economy?

Regardless of what the future holds, 42matters has your back. We provide app insights, data, and analytics via a host of useful APIs, file dumps, and the 42matters Explorer.

The Explorer, which is free for 14-days, is an app market research tool that provides a comprehensive look at app market trends and statistics. This includes in-depth, visual insights into app download trends, categories, IAB categories, metadata, rating and review analyses, and more. You can also download this data as a CSV and leverage it however you like — in your own algorithms, analyses, products, studies, etc.

Along the same lines, you can use our file dumps to examine and deploy the raw app market data however you like. They are hosted on AWS S3 and come in the form of a multi-line JSON file.

To learn how 42matters can help you stay informed on the state of the app economy, schedule a free demo with one of our experts.