The iOS App Store launched in 2008 with 500 apps. Today, there are over seven million apps available across iOS and Android platforms, extending to every app and game genre and niche.
These apps have come to play a huge role in the way we live our lives today. Through them, we can access the entire Western canon of music (and much beyond it too), meet romantic partners, manage our diaries, documentation, and pay people without cash or card.
Augmented reality apps are changing the way we interact with the world, and mobile gaming now accounts for lion’s share of games industry revenue.
The market for these apps is about as big as they come. It is estimated that there are over six billion smartphone users worldwide, and about five billion of those have access to the internet. Some of the most popular apps in the world, such as Facebook and YouTube, have more users than China has people.
These devices are approaching ubiquity in advanced economies, among which median penetration levels stand at 76% of adults. In South Korea, 95% of adults own a smartphone.
Emerging economies are catching up. Brazil and South Africa already log penetration levels of 60%, while India’s lower figure of 24% still represents hundreds of millions of users. It is expected that in the next five years many of these markets will reach similar maturity levels to Europe and North America.
These figures are growing every year, and along with it, the market for mobile apps. In 2021, apps were downloaded more than 100 billion times, and that is expected to reach 200 billion by 2025.
What these new apps will contain is anyone’s guess, with Meta Platforms believing the future is in the metaverse and others, like developer of TikTok, ByteDance, seeing a future in algorithm curated news, music, and videos.
We have collected data and statistics on iOS and Android app downloads. Read on below to find out more.
App download key statistics
- 143.6 billion apps and games were downloaded in 2021
- 55 billion of those downloads were games, 88 billion were apps
- Google Play was responsible for 111.3 billion downloads in 2021, iOS had 32.3 billion downloads
App and game downloads
App downloads have consistently increased year-on-year, but saw a dramatic increase in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In that year, downloads increased by 24%, the highest percentage increase since 2013.
Quarterly app and game downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Annual app and game downloads 2015 to 2021 (bn)
Want to learn more about app data? Check out our App Data report
iOS App and game downloads
On iOS, app and game downloads declined for the first time in 2021, falling from 34.4 billion downloads in 2020 to 32.3 billion in 2021.
Quarterly iOS app and game downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Annual iOS app and game downloads 2015 to 2021 (bn)
Source: App Data Report
Google Play App and game downloads
Google Play app and game downloads increased in 2021 by 2.5%, the lowest recorded percentage growth in annual downloads for the store.
Quarterly Google Play app and game downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Annual Google Play app and game downloads 2015 to 2021 (bn)
Source: App Data Report
Game downloads declined slightly in 2021, after an impressive 33.2% increase in downloads in 2020, primarily from the coronavirus pandemic pushing more people to mobile games.
Quarterly game downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Annual game downloads 2015 to 2021 (bn)
iOS Game downloads
There was a measurable decline in iOS game downloads in 2021. At 8.6 billion downloads, there were less games downloaded in 2021 than in 2018 on the platform.
Quarterly iOS game downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Annual iOS game downloads 2015 to 2021 (bn)
Google Play Game downloads
Google Play saw a slight increase in game downloads in 2021, at 1.5%, but that comes off an impressive 39% increase in downloads in 2020.
Quarterly Google Play game downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Annual Google Play game downloads 2015 to 2021 (bn)
App downloads increased slightly in 2021, from 86.7 billion to 88.3 billion. App downloads have more than doubled in half a decade.
Quarterly app downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Annual app downloads 2015 to 2021 (bn)
iOS app downloads
As with games, iOS app downloads also declined in 2021, although by a smaller margin. There were 23.7 billion app downloads in 2021.
Quarterly iOS app downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Annual iOS app downloads 2015 to 2021 (bn)
Google Play app downloads
Google Play app downloads increased by 3.5% in 2021, with a total of 64.6 billion downloads for the year.
Quarterly Google Play app downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Annual Google Play app downloads 2015 to 2021 (bn)
Downloads by country
China has the most total app downloads, due in part to how many smartphone users are in the country but also because of the high downloads-per-capita.
Annual downloads by country 2021 (bn)
Hours spent by country
The hours spent per country almost mimics the downloads, although Pakistan has stepped far ahead of other countries in total hours spent, because of its high usage-per-capita.
Annual hours spent on apps by country 2021 (bn)
|Country||Hours spent (bn)|
App usage by age
Teenagers and young adults spend more hours on apps on average, with that figure declining to less 51.4 hours a month for those over 65 years old.
Monthly app usage by age bracket
|Age||Monthly hours spent on apps|