app downloads

The app economy has grown significantly over the last decade. App download is a key metric to track how popular is your app. An analysis from AppFigures shows how apps stack up based on downloads.

According to the analysis which was based on data over the last month and includes both Google Play and App Store, 47.7% of the apps got between 100 and 1,000 downloads. The data shouldn’t exactly be surprising as the bulk of downloads are for the really popular apps.

A third of the apps got between 1,000-10,000 downloads over the period. Put differently, 80% of the apps got less than 10,000 downloads which basically means that the traditional 80-20 rule is playing out in the app economy as well.

Source: AppFigures

Around 15% of the apps got between 10,000-100,000 downloads over the period. The report stresses, “This is also where we start to see more investment in paid ads and Apple Search Ads.”

Notably, AppsFlyer estimates that global app install ad spending which is the money spent by mobile apps to acquire new users and increase the downloads of their apps, would increase by 7% and 13% respectively in 2024 and 2025 and reach $94.9 billion in 2025.

According to AppsFlyer, between January 2022 and May 2023, 38% of the mobile install ad spending came from North America while Asia Pacific (with China) accounted for 34%. Europe accounted for a quarter of global app install ad spending while Latin America’s share was 6%.

ad spending by region
Source: AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer believes that the economic recovery and innovation in privacy-enhancing technology (PET) would drive the growth in global app install ad spending.

Only a Few Apps Account for the Bulk of the Downloads

Meanwhile, according to AppFigures, only 3.8% of the apps had between 100,000-1,000,000 downloads, and noted that there were more such apps on Google Play than App Store.

The percentage of apps that had between 1 million-10 million downloads over the study period of 30 days was a mere 0.5%. The category includes globally popular apps like Twitter and Instagram.

That said, Twitter’s popularity has come down since Elon Musk acquired the company. Instagram’s Threads is the most recent threat for Twitter and the newly launched platform has already surpassed 150 million downloads.

threads reaches 150 million users

It took Threads just a week to reach 150 million downloads which is 5.5 times faster than Niantic’s Pokémon Go. Notably, while ChatGPT has been making waves globally it took around 2 months to reach 100 million downloads.

Meanwhile, the last category in AppFigures analysis is the apps that had over 10 million downloads. There are only 21 such apps of which 20 were on Google Play and just one on App Store.

The App Economy is Growing at a Brisk Pace

The total app downloads totaled 255 billion in 2022 according to The total downloads surpassed 200 billion in 2019 and have since stayed above that threshold. Between 2016 and 2022, app downloads increased by 115 billion or 80% which looks encouraging.

global app downloads
Source: Statista

Notably, Apple’s App Tracking Transparency framework which was introduced in 2021 was a big blow for many apps as it hampered marketers’ ability to monitor their campaigns.

While the new feature meant that users had more control over their data, it also meant revenue loss for many app developers.

Meta Platforms for instance estimated that it lost $10 billion in revenues in 2022 due to the Apple privacy rules. In 2022, Meta Platforms’ revenues fell 2% YoY – the first time in history when the Mark Zuckerberg-led company posted a yearly fall in revenues. The company however continues to invest in metaverse even as the business posted a loss of $13.7 billion in 2022.

Meanwhile, Meta Platforms has shown signs of a turnaround and after reporting a yearly fall in revenues for three straight quarters, it reported a 2.6% rise in its Q1 2023 revenues.

Meta stock has also risen over 150% in 2023 which makes it the second-best S&P 500 stock.

All said, the app download data shows how a handful of apps account for the bulk of downloads while over 80% of them average just about 300 downloads per day. While many small apps fight for relevance, there are some simple steps through which you can increase the downloads of your app.

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