By 2023, mobile apps could generate over $935 billion in revenue. That’s impressive. Have you ever wondered what drives someone to use (or not use) a mobile app? Or what type of mobile app they’re likely to use the most? Or how much time they’re spending in the mobile apps they download?
In this post, we’ve gathered 25 of the most up-to-date mobile app usage and download stats, facts and projections you can use to make sure your own app aligns with what your target audience is actually doing in 2022 and beyond. We’ve pulled research from the likes of App Annie, Statista, Sensor Tower, Mary Meeker and more to bring you the numbers and insights that matter most.
Let’s get right to it (or skip to a section below).
Mobile App Usage & Download Statistics
Millennials & Gen Z App Usage Statistics
Mobile App Usage & Download Statistics
We kick things off with stats about usage trends and download habits. These numbers highlight what’s going on in the mobile app market today and even speak to the psychology of mobile users.
1. Overall, 3.8 trillion hours were spent using mobile apps during 2021. (App Annie)
A study by App Annie’s found that the average person spent 4.8 hours a day on their mobile phone last year—up 30% from 2019. Social, photo and video apps like Facebook, TikTok and YouTube were by far the most popular mobile apps.
2. Mobile internet usage is rising while desktop internet usage continues to fall. (Mary Meeker)
According to the 2019 Mary Meeker report, the number of hours spent on the internet continues to increase every year, but the split between desktop and mobile is becoming more and more pronounced. In 2018, Americans were spending 3.6 hours per day on mobile (12 times more than a decade prior) and just 2 hours per day on a desktop or laptop (which has stayed pretty consistent since 2008).
3. Nearly 90% of mobile internet time is spent in apps. (eMarketer)
The gap between mobile app usage and mobile browser usage is also widening. In 2020, eMarketer predicts that adult smartphone users will spend about 4 hours per day using mobile internet, and 88% of that time will be spent in mobile apps, rather than a browser. This speaks to the importance of companies not only optimizing their websites for mobile, but creating custom, responsive apps too.
4. There are currently more than 2.9 million apps available in the Google Play Store. (Statista)
As of Q4 2021, there were 2.89 million apps published in the Google Play Store. While the Android operating system leads the pack for market share globally, it’s interesting to learn that competition is much lighter here than in the Apple App Store (see next statistic).
5. There are 4.75 million apps available in the Apple App Store. (Statista)
As of August 2021, there were 4.37 million apps published in the Apple App Store. According to Statista, there is one gaming app available on iOS for every 3.75 non-gaming apps.
6. On average, about 70,000 new Android apps are released in the Google Play Store every month. (42Matters)
While there are fewer Android apps live on the market today, new Android apps are being published at a rate almost 2.5 times greater than iOS apps (see next stat), with more than 70,000 new apps being released each month.
7. On average, about 32,000 new iOS apps are released in the Apple App Store every month. (42Matters)
New iOS apps are launched at a slower rate than Android apps; this may be due to the Google Play Store reportedly being cheaper and easier to enter—and, as mentioned above, there are far more Android users than iOS users in the world. Sometimes it makes more sense to cater to the numbers, but not always. We often see businesses choosing to build for both platforms.
8. Most users have more than 80 apps installed on their phones. (TechJury)
Of these 80 apps, most smart phone users have use 9 apps per day on average and 30 apps per month. So while new apps are not downloaded as often as they once were, the average user still has a decent number of apps already vying for their attention.
9. The number 1 reason people uninstall apps is because they aren’t in use. (CleverTap)
How often do you purge your phone of previously installed mobile apps? Many users do, primarily because those apps are not being used. The reason they aren’t being used, though, is what businesses need to focus on. Among the other top reasons for uninstalling: not enough space on their phone, excessive advertising, and excessive notifications. As CleverTap points out, all of these responses speak to one thing: a poor user experience. Functionality is everything, and poor UX can guarantee the failure of your app.
10. More than 20% of all mobile apps in the Apple App Store are game apps—2X the number of business apps. (Statista)
Of all the mobile apps in the Apple App Store, the most popular category for developers is gaming apps. Nearly 25% of all mobile apps fall into the games category. That’s two times more than the second highest category, business. If you’re looking to launch a new gaming app, be prepared for some tough competition—but also be prepared to ride the wave of a massively booming industry!
11. Only 52% of smartphone users have game apps on their phones. (Statista)
Although gaming apps are the most commonly created, only 52% of smartphone users have at least one gaming app on their device. In contrast, more than 95% of all smartphone users have a communication or social app, web browser, utility or tool app, and entertainment app. Statista does not specify whether or not pre-installed apps are included in their data.
12. Smartphone users spend 50% of their mobile app time in social and communications apps. (Statista)
Not only are social apps the most frequently downloaded, but they are also where smartphone users are spending the biggest chunk of their time (50% of total usage time, to be exact). In second place are video and entertainment apps, like Netflix and TikTok, coming in at 21% of total usage time. As App Annie reports, the lines are beginning to blur between social apps and entertainment apps as new generations turn to them for similar purposes.
Millennials & Gen Z App Usage Statistics
Millennials and gen Z are the two most tech-savvy generations with rapidly growing purchasing power. If your app targets these groups, understanding what makes them tick will help you persuade them to adopt your app.
13. Nearly 70% of millennials say social networking apps are among their most commonly used. (MindSea)
Among millennials in particular, the number who list social media apps as their most frequently used category is at 69%. In second place, at 55%, is messaging apps—because again, the most popular use of apps is connecting and communicating with others. If you’re targeting this generation, consider incorporating features in your app that allow users to connect with their peers and be part of a community.
14. Roughly 37% of millennials list data usage as a key factor when deciding if they like a mobile app. (MindSea)
When asked about the top factors when deciding if they’ll keep a mobile app, 37% of millennials said excessive data usage was a dealbreaker for them. A perfect example of this is Pokémon Go—when it first launched, the app quickly became a viral hit, but users were constantly frustrated with how much data it ate up, and many deleted it. As you’re building your own mobile app, keep in mind that high data usage may result in users hitting the delete button fast.
15. 21% of millennials say they open their apps more than 50 times per day. (The Manifest)
On a daily basis, millennials open their mobile apps more than any generation prior. Are you one of them? Younger generations today are tech savvy and always on their phones. Build a great app, build their trust and loyalty, and they will come back time and again.
16. 73% Of Millennials Shop On Mobile 1-4x Per Week (Tapjoy)
It may seem like Millennials use their smartphones for everything, but they mostly use them for gaming and shopping—70% play mobile games daily and 73% shop on mobile up to four times per week.
17. Gen-Z users engage 20% more than older groups in non-gaming apps (TechCrunch)
Gen Z users spend an average of 10% longer per month in top non-gaming apps compared to older demographics. They also engage with apps more often, with 20% more sessions per user in non-gaming apps compared with older groups.
18. Gen Z spends 66% of their digital media time using smartphone apps. (TechJury)
As ComScore points out, smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 24 are the heaviest mobile app users. This is supported by App Annie data, which shows that Gen Z holds the crown for total number of sessions and total time spent per month in top, non-gaming mobile apps. As App Annie also points out, Gen Z is set to soon surpass millennials as the largest generation, so if your target audience falls in this age group, this is good news for you.
Mobile App Revenue Statistics
Lastly, we round out this piece with some insights on mobile app revenue. If you’re looking to monetize your app, here’s what you need to know…
19. According to app sales statistics, mobile apps could generate more than $935 billion in revenue by 2023. (Serpwatch)
In case you had any doubts, the mobile app market is hot. App revenue has risen tremendously over the past decade; this growth is forecasted to continue. It’s not too late to get in on the action!
20. 92% to 96% of apps are free. (Statista)
Free apps dominate the market. 96% of Google Play apps are free and, as seen below, 92% of apps in the Apple Store are available at no cost. Among app pricing strategies, the free and freemium models appear to be the ones that have consistently worked the best across app categories, given their increasing popularity. Many of these apps still making money thanks to ads, add-ons and upgrades.
21. Apps in the Apple App Store bring in nearly double the revenue of those in the Google Play Store. (Sensor Tower)
If maximizing revenue is a priority for your mobile app, you may want to launch in the Apple App Store. Sensor Tower reports that iOS apps consistently bring in more money than Android apps. Remember, there are nearly two times the number of apps in the App Stores and one fifth of those are gaming apps. These figures are likely contributing to Apple’s leg up in the revenue department.
22. The highest earning apps in the Google Play Store are gaming apps. (Statista)
As of late 2021, Coin Master generated approximately 108 million U.S. dollars in global revenues through the Google Play Store. All of the highest-grossing apps were gaming apps. There are many examples of the benefits of gaming and how gamification is changing mHealth for the better.Leading Android apps in the Google Play Store worldwide in October 2021, by revenue
23. Apps with subscriptions account for the majority of consumer spend in top non-gaming apps. (App Annie)
In the U.S., subscriptions contribute the most to growing mobile revenue numbers. 97% of consumer spend in the top 250 non-gaming apps in the Apple App Store was driven by subscriptions. In the Google Play Store, subscription-based revenue came in at 91%.
24. Mobile gaming is projected to surpass $116 billion in consumer spend by 2024. (NewZoo)
Mobile gaming continues its steady climb and shows no signs of slowly. NewZoo projects the current 90.7 billion consumer spend will increase to 116 billion in just 2 years. While the Covid-19 pandemic certainly provided an additional boost in these numbers, IDC reports that 75% of these increases will persist indefinitely. You can read more about the early and immediate impact of COVID-19 on gaming in App Annie’s 2020 gaming spotlight review.
25. Global consumer spending on health and fitness apps hit nearly $34 billion in 2021. (Sensor Tower)
Exercising and mental wellness are other at-home areas that more consumers started exploring when the pandemic forced the closure of gyms and sporting facilities. According to Sensor Tower, health and fitness app downloads are up 47% year-over-year. App Annie detailed the surge of at-home fitness apps during the pandemic. Here are some of the most popular apps.
The U.S. fitness app market is projected to grow over 16% every year. What’s more? Spending on mental health apps could reach $500 million in 2022. So, if health and wellness is the market you’re in, now is the time to build your app!Leading health and fitness apps in the Google Play Store worldwide in October 2021, by revenue (in 1,000 U.S. dollars)
Now It’s Your Turn
Hopefully this post has helped you think a bit more critically about the direction you’re taking your own mobile app. Understanding what your audience is actually doing can unlock the difference between a mobile app that completely misses the mark and one that’s wildly successful.
Looking for a partner to help you drive business value with a strong mobile strategy? We’d love to chat. Take a minute to schedule a free call with one of our mobile product strategists today!
With over 325,000 healthcare apps in the marketplace and a more savvy user base, finding a strategic partner who understands consumer expectations, design trends, and best practices will only add value and efficiency to your app build.
Learn more about how MindSea can help elevate your digital product strategy and develop health and wellness solutions that optimize user outcomes.