Top Grossing Apps (2023)

David Curry

Updated: January 9, 2023

As detailed in our app revenues market post, Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store both earn a majority of revenue from games, accounting for 71 percent across both platforms.

It shouldn’t be a surprise then that the majority of top grossing apps are games, especially as certain apps have found ways to avoid users paying for subscriptions on the platform.

For example, Netflix and Spotify have both removed the ability to subscribe in-app on iOS and Android. We estimate that Apple and Google missed out on $1.8 billion in 2020 from Netflix removing the ability to subscribe in-app.

In-app purchases are more of a difficult workaround, as users often make impulsive purchases. That means almost all games use Apple and Google’s payment solutions for in-app purchases.

In terms of countries, China, Japan and the US are the three largest spenders worldwide, in that order. Japan has the highest spending per capita, while China, due to the amount of mobile users, can often elevate a game to top grossing completely on its own.

An example of this would be Honor of Kings, which has consistently held a top three position in grossing for five years. The game is only available in China, and is a semi-port of the popular PC game League of Legends.

We have collected data and statistics on the top grossing apps of 2021. Read on below to find out more.

Top Grossing Apps Key Statistics

  • PUBG Mobile was the top grossing game of 2021, generating $2 billion revenue
  • TikTok was the top grossing app of 2021, generating $1.7 billion revenue
  • Genshin Impact saw the most growth in 2021, with a 220% increase in revenue to $1.3 billion

Top Grossing Apps by Country

China, Japan and the US are the three key markets for top grossing apps, accounting for approximately 80% of all revenue generated on the app store. These three countries have a much higher spend per user than the rest of the world.

Top Grossing Apps 2021 (Global)

PUBG Mobile was the top grossing app of 2021, for the third time running. The vast majority of PUBG revenue comes from China. TikTok is far ahead of other social platforms for in-app purchases, possibly accounting for over 50% of its total revenue.

AppRevenue ($bn)
PUBG Mobile2.01
Honor of Kings1.64
Genshin Impact1.33
Coin Master0.93
Pokemon Go0.90
Candy Crush0.85
Garena Free Fire0.83

Sources: AppMagic, Sensor Tower

Top Grossing Apps 2021 (United States)

In the US, Roblox is the top grossing app with $588 million revenue. Apps make up more of the top 10 mix, in comparison to global, with Disney+, YouTube, HBO Max, Google One and Tinder all making the top ten.

AppRevenue ($mm)
Candy Crush Saga556
Coin Master433
HBO Max398
Garena Free Fire388
Google One383
Pokemon Go320

Sources: AppMagic, Sensor Tower

Top Grossing Apps 2021 (United Kingdom)

Roblox is the top grossing app in the U.K. as well, with £42 million revenue in 2021. Games like Homescapes and Clash of Clans remain popular in the country, while they have dropped off in North America.

AppRevenue (£mm)
Coin Master33
Candy Crush Saga26
State of Survival16
Pokemon Go16
Clash of Clans15

Sources: AppMagic, Sensor Tower

Top Grossing Apps 2021 (India)

Even though India has some of the highest downloads, it has yet to see similar growth in revenue. PUBG Mobile’s ban in the country (due to Tencent publication) has led to Garena Free Fire taking over the top grossing spot.

AppRevenue ($mm)
Garena Free Fire17.7
Google One6.8
Call of Duty: Mobile6.5
Tango Livestream5.9
Battlegrounds Mobile5.9
Coin Master5.2
Lords: Tower Defense4

Source: AppMagic

Top Grossing Apps by Platform

In this section, we cover the top grossing apps on iOS and Android.

Top Grossing iOS Apps 2021

PUBG Mobile was the top grossing iOS app in 2021, followed by Honor of Kings and TikTok. The majority of all three apps revenue came from China.

AppRevenue ($mm)
PUBG Mobile1677
Honor of Kings1649
Genshin Impact804
Tencent Video627
Fantasy Westward Journey588
Romance Three Kingdoms584

Source: AppMagic

Top Grossing Google Play Apps 2021

Coin Master was the top grossing Google Play app in 2021, with $654 million generated. Google One, Google’s cloud storage service, came second with $652 million.

AppRevenue ($mm)
Coin Master654
Google One652
Garena Free Fire585
Genshin Impact465
Pokemon Go458
Candy Crush Saga444
Lords: Tower Defense337
Disney+ 331
Lineage M325

Source: AppMagic

Top Grossing Apps by Category

In this section, we look at the top ten most grossing apps in specific categories.

Top Grossing Apps 2021

TikTok is far ahead of all other apps in total revenue generation, primarily from its Chinese app Douyin. Video streaming platforms take up the majority of the list.

AppRevenue ($mm)
Tencent Video666
Google One626
Kakao Piccoma613
HBO Max410

Source: AppMagic

Top Grossing Games 2021

Almost all revenue generation comes from two countries: China and Japan. A lot of these games are marketed specifically to Eastern audiences, like Honor of Kings, Garena Free Fire and Uma Musume Pretty Derby, although some have crossover appeal like Genshin Impact.

AppRevenue ($bn)
PUBG Mobile2.01
Honor of Kings1.64
Genshin Impact1.33
Coin Master0.93
Pokemon Go0.90
Candy Crush Saga0.85
Garena Free Fire0.83
Uma Musume Pretty Derby0.81
Rise of Kingdom0.68

Source: AppMagic

Top Grossing Entertainment Apps 2021

Netflix would be much higher on this list, but tries with all of its might to get users to sign-up on the web, avoiding Apple and Google’s fees. Disney+ and HBO Max do not do this, which is why in-app revenue is higher.

AppRevenue ($mm)
Tencent Video666
HBO Max410
Bigo Live313
Youku TV276

Source: AppMagic

Top Grossing Music Apps 2021

Spotify and Apple Music are missing from this list, because Apple doesn’t reveal its revenue and Spotify pushes users to pay on the web. QQ Music being top grossing is perhaps surprising, but shows how Chinese users are more willing to pay for music than five years ago.

AppRevenue ($mm)
QQ Music286
Pandora Music270
YouTube Music208
Line Music154
Netease Music145
Amazon Music127
Kugou Music96
Smule Karaoke52
Simply Piano51

Source: AppMagic

Top Grossing Social Apps 2021

Outside of TikTok, dating apps appear to be the best social platforms for revenue generation, as many offer premium features to their customers. Kwai, a TikTok competitor that is branching out from China, is anticipated to be the next big social platform, at least in South-east Asia.

AppRevenue ($mm)
Azar Video Chat115

Source: AppMagic

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.