Most downloaded apps of the past decade and 2019

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With 2020 just around the corner, it is time to look back at some of the most important trends of 2019. Mobile market data and analytics firm App Annie did just that, but along with the most popular apps and games of 2019, the analytics firm also looked at the most downloaded apps and games of the past decade.

Most downloaded apps and games of the past decade

The findings of App Annie are interesting, but some of the names on the list are no surprise. App Annie’s findings are based on the data from the App Store and the Play Store from 2012 onwards.

According to App Annie, Facebook and Facebook Messenger were the most downloaded apps over the past ten years. WhatsApp and Instagram also feature among the top four. This means Facebook owns all the top four apps. Others in the list of the most downloaded apps are Snapchat, Skype, TikTok, UC Browser, YouTube and Twitter.

Image Source: App Annie (screenshot)

Coming to the games, the list of the most downloaded games also have some expected and some unexpected names. The most downloaded games are: Subway Surfers, Candy Crush Saga, Temple Run 2, My Talking Tom, Clash of Clans, Pou, Hill Climb Racing, Minion Rush, Fruit Ninja and 8 Ball Pool.

When it comes to in-app spending, the list of the most downloaded apps completely changes. Again the list is predictable, and includes Netflix, Tinder, Pandora Music, Tencent Video, LINE, iQIYI, Spotify, YouTube, HBO Now and Kwai.

Image Source: App Annie (screenshot)

Talking of the most downloaded games with the most in-app purchases, the list includes Clash of Clans, Monster Strike, Candy Crush Saga, Puzzle & Dragons, Fate/Grand Order, Honor of Kings, Fantasy Westward Journey, Pokémon GO, Game of War: Fire Age and Clash Royale.

Most downloaded apps, Most downloaded games, biggest apps of 2019

Image Source: App Annie (screenshot)

“This decade has been a time of remarkable growth for the mobile economy. With a 5% increase in downloads, and 15% growth in consumer spend (excluding third-party Android) year-over-year in 2019 this looks set to continue in 2020,” App Annie says.

Most downloaded games and apps of 2019

Now that we know about the most downloaded apps and games of the past decade, let’s look at the most popular apps and games of 2019. Here also, the list includes a few surprises and a few expected names. In all, the research firm notes that the demand for mobile apps is at an all-time high.

In 2019, the consumers downloaded a record 120 billion apps from iOS and Play Store. This represents a year-over-year increase of 5%. The download figure is the net amount, meaning it does not include re-installs or app updates. Talking of consumer spending, it hit $90 billion this year, an increase of 15%.

Talking of the most downloaded apps of 2019, the names are pretty much expected. There is only one new entry in the list, and that is Likee, a short-form video creation and sharing app. The list includes Facebook Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok, Instagram, SHAReit, Likee, Snapchat, Netflix and Spotify. Though TikTok beat Instagram to feature among the top four, Facebook owns four of the top five apps.

Most downloaded apps, Most downloaded games, biggest apps of 2019

Image Source: App Annie (screenshot)

Coming to the most downloaded games of 2019, seven out of the ten names are new to the list. The list includes Free Fire, PUBG Mobile, Subway Surfers, Color Bump 3D, Fun Race 3D, Run Race 3D, My Talking Tom 2, Homescapes, Stack Ball, and Call of Duty: Mobile.

“Hypercasual games do have shorter cycles or quicker cycles, but some can last for a month or quite a few months,” Amir Ghodrati, director of market insights at App Annie, told GamesBeat in an interview.

Most popular apps of 2019 by consumer spending

Talking of spending, usually it is the games that drive consumer spending on apps. This year, the subscription-based apps played a significant role in boosting the revenues from apps. Specifically, the apps in the Photo & Video and Entertainment categories pushed the revenue growth up this year.

App Annie expects the trend to continue in 2020 as well owing to the launch of services such as Disney+. Many more subscription-based apps are expected to launch next year, such as Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi, HBO Max and NBCU’s Peacock.

Image Source: App Annie (screenshot)

Coming to the list of the top ten apps by consumer spend, Netflix, which was at the top spot last year, switched places with Tinder. HBO NOW, which got its popularity due to the Game of Thrones, wasn’t able to make a place in the top ten. Instead, LINE Manga entered the list to bag the tenth spot. Tencent Video (third) and iQIYI (fourth) retained their spot, while YouTube jumped two places from seventh to fifth. Pandora slipped one spot from fifth last year to sixth this year.

Most downloaded apps, Most downloaded games, biggest apps of 2019

Image Source: App Annie (screenshot)

This year App Annie looked at a new category of apps, called “breakout” apps of the year. The category includes apps that saw the biggest absolute growth in downloads or consumer spending. The top spot on this list is taken by Likee, followed by Noizz. Both the apps are from YY Inc. Other names in the list are Helo, Hago, YouTube Music, AppLock, VMate, FaceApp, WhatsApp Business and Cut Cut.

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About the Author

Aman Jain
Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at

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