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Best Google Play App Categories by 2020-2021 Download Trends

Best Google Play App Categories by 2020-2021 Download Trends

Last update: 20 Jun 2021 21:00 CET
Best Google Play App Categories by 2020-2021 Download Trends

Did you know Google Play offers over 3 million mobile apps and games? Or that an average of over 1,000 new apps are added every day? True story — check out our app store stats pages to see for yourself! And, with numbers like that, it should come as no surprise that app developers are constantly struggling to get their products in front of their target consumers. One of the most important tools that businesses can leverage to overcome such a competitive landscape are app categories.

App categories enable businesses to sort their products into different boxes — ‘Education’, ‘Music & Audio’, ‘Books & Reference’, etc. This, in turn, makes it easier for consumers to find new apps that match their interests and seek out specific apps for their particular needs. In this piece, we’ll cover the the best app categories on Google Play by downloads over the last year. The data provided will be updated automatically on a weekly basis.

Before we dive into the data, keep in mind there are 49 categories on Google Play. And, because the categories often overlap and vary in specificity — for example ‘Music & Audio’ vs simply ‘Entertainment’ — it requires some extra brainpower on the part of app publishers to pick the best categories for their products.

Making matters more complex, one cannot assume that by selecting the most precise or best-sounding categories they will achieve the best possible results. So, that ‘extra brainpower’ will require some real-world insights into the mobile app market.

This is where app category download estimate trends come into play; these estimates provide valuable insight into the popularity of each category. This information can then be used by app developers to avoid downward trending categories and identify those on the rise. It can also be used to identify less competitive categories (i.e. those with fewer apps) that appear to be on an upswing in terms of downloads.

If your head is already spinning, don’t worry! In what follows, we will provide a starting point for navigating the deceptively tricky world of app categories. We’ll cover:

  • The Best 5 Upward-trending Google Play App Categories by Downloads from to
  • The 5 Most Downward-trending Google Play App Categories by Downloads from to
  • The Best 5 ‘Large’ Google Play App Categories by Global Downloads in
  • The Best 5 ‘Small’ Google Play App Categories by Global Downloads in

Let’s get started!

The Best 5 ‘Large’ Google Play App Categories by Global Downloads in

Now, it’s important to remember that not all app categories are alike — some are naturally larger than others. For instance, there will be more apps filed under ‘Games’ than under ‘Casino’, since ‘Casino’ is more or less a subset of ‘Games’.

However, it should not be assumed that because one category has more competition than another that it will therefore represent a larger share of global downloads. Indeed, it’s possible that less competitive categories can be overrepresented in global downloads owing to the extreme popularity of one or some of its apps.

In any case, these natural differences in app categories present app publishers with a dilemma:

  • Should they place their app in a more competitive environment that receives more traffic, but where they run the risk of blending in with the crowd?
  • Or should they place their app in a less competitive environment, where they will have a better chance of standing out, but receive less traffic?

This is a challenging question; and, of course, the answer varies from business to business. Still, with this in mind, we’ve taken a look at the top 5 ‘large’ (i.e. more competitive) and ‘small’ (i.e. less competitive) categories to offer app publishers a starting point to address it.

We begin with the best 5 ‘large’ categories. The following chart depicts annual downloads by category as a percentage of the sum of annual downloads for the top five categories. So, the percentages here should add up to 100%.



As you can see, Education ranks highest with 345,685 apps representing 2.36% of global downloads. Business comes next with 246,490 apps making up 1.95% of global downloads. Then comes Music and audio with 5.17% making up 216,153 apps of global downloads. Then Tools with 22.44% making up 210,399 apps of global downloads. Then, finally, Entertainment with 197,855 apps making up 7.28% of global downloads.

Contact us for a free consultation to see which categories round out the best 10!

The Best 5 ‘Small’ Google Play App Categories by Global Downloads in

Now the welterweights. Just as before, the following chart depicts annual downloads by category as a percentage of the sum of annual downloads for the top five categories. The percentages here should add up to 100% as well.


Here you’ll find that Dating ranks highest with 9,242 apps representing 0.34% of global downloads. Weather comes next with 9,260 apps making up 0.85% of global downloads. Then comes Libraries and demo with 7,419 apps making up 0.1% of global downloads. Then Parenting with 5,602 apps making up 0.1% of global downloads. Then, finally, Comics with 3,783 apps making up 0.17% of global downloads.

Going Beyond App Categories...

So, those are the best Google Play app categories by 2020-2021 download trends. By now we’ve hopefully done enough to show you that selecting the best categories for your app is not merely a descriptive exercise. It is, in fact, a critical piece to driving downloads.

Still, it is not the only factor. You’ll need to consider:

  • App name
  • App description
  • Rating and reviews
  • Updates and changelog
  • Download trends
  • And more

By understanding how these things work and how successful apps are leveraging them, you’ll be better positioned to build a profitable mobile business.

Don’t let this overwhelm you. Schedule a free demo and we’ll walk you through everything.