Research Analysis

The Best Apps the global market has seen in the last decade

Mobile and Web App Development Company
Research Analysis

The 2010s have seen some major changes in the way we interact with the world: We now take rides from strangers via ride-hailing platforms such as Uber and Lyft, we rent other people’s homes through Airbnb and Vrbo instead of booking a hotel. We also play console-quality video games on our phones with Apple Arcade and mobile releases of games such as Call of Duty. You can find one thing at the heart of all of these changes: mobile apps.

In 2019 alone, people worldwide are on track to download a record 120 billion apps across iOS and Android devices — a 5% increase over the year before, according to a Monday report from app analytics firm App Annie. This number only represents new downloads, not reinstalls or app updates, the report noted. Spending on apps is growing even faster, approaching $90 billion worldwide this year — up 15% from last year.

“The rich and interactive experiences we have come to expect on mobile apps have created new standards and expectations for all digital media including the web. The result is websites are evolving to become more app-like in their rich functionality.” Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics

Most of the spending growth was driven by mobile games, photo and video editors and entertainment apps, which is expected to continue into 2020 with the launch of new streaming and subscription services such as Disney Plus, the report said.

Among the most-downloaded apps of the decade, Facebook and its family of apps Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram took the top slots — despite Facebook’s many privacy scandals over the past couple years. Communication and social media apps accounted for seven of the top 10 apps in terms of downloads this decade.

Top Apps of the decade
Top 10 apps all time downloads worldwide

Trending Apps of the last decade: The best 6 of all

Looking at the most downloaded apps of the decade, Facebook has dominated the mobile space representing the four most downloaded apps of the decade with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Communication and social media apps are consumer favorites, accounting for 7 of the top 10 apps by downloads this decade. In terms of Consumer spend, video streaming and music apps were well represented with Netflix, Pandora Music and Tencent Video all appearing in the top five. Tinder was the most successful dating app of the decade in terms of consumer spend, coming in second place in the overall ranking behind Netflix.

Facebook Messenger

Messaging use is on the rise, and Facebook Messenger is the most popular messaging platform in the western region. But just how big is Facebook Messenger, and how much is it actually being used in 2019? The numbers may surprise you.

Facebook Messenger
Facebook messenger by the numbers


Facebook probably needs no introduction; nonetheless, we won’t take chances. The world’s biggest and most-famous social network was launched by Mark Zuckerberg while he was a student at Harvard University, in early 2004. TheFacebook, as it was then known, was originally intended to serve a digitised version of the ‘face books’ held by Harvard’s various colleges – paper directories containing images and personal information about students. Initially limited to Harvard, it expanded to include students at other elite US universities, before being opened to all universities and high schools in the US and Canada.

“ In 2006, it was finally decided to open the site up to the general public – the rest, as they say, is history.”
Daily Users on Facebook

Facebook Daily active users


You know that Instagram marketing is supposed to be really beneficial for businesses and brands. It’s one of the absolute go-to platforms that you need to be using.

There are Instagram ads, newsfeed posts, and Stories, and all of them can help you accomplish your various marketing goals.

Global Instagram Users
Number of monthly Instagram active users


WhatsApp is a messaging app for smartphones created in 2009 by two former Yahoo employees, Brian Acton and Jan Koum. The app, developed by Igor Solomennikov, leveraged Apple’s new push notification feature to update users’ networks with status updates. Users quickly came to use this as if it were an instant messaging service, planting the seed for what the app would become. WhatsApp 2.0 incorporated the messaging function that would come to be the app’s defining feature.

WhatsApps exponential growth in the initial years
WhatsApp extraordinary growth in usres


TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world which presents an alternative version of online sharing.

“ It is an iOS and Android media app that can be used for creating and sharing short videos. It was initially launched as Douyin in September 2016, in China. The following year, in 2017, the app was launched by ByteDance for markets outside of China. ”

TikTok and Douyin both use the same software, but maintain separate networks in order to comply with Chinese censorship restrictions. TikTok is available all around the world via the App Store or Google Play stores.

Mobile App Development
TikTok Monthly Active Users


Snapchat is an image and video messaging app, developed by Stanford University students Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown in 2011. It allows users to capture and send ‘Snaps’ that are only viewable for a set duration of 1 to 10 seconds or until closed by recipient, after which they are automatically deleted. Originally, this was just photos; video capability was added in 2012.

Snapchat users by Country

A decade of App Revolution: The Conclusion

“Our lives will be facilitated by a myriad of adaptive applications running on different devices, with different sensors, all of them collecting tidbits about everything we do, and feeding big digital brains that can adapt applications to our needs simply because they get to know us.” Márcio Cyrillo, Executive Director at CI&T

Total 2018 app revenue of $71.3 billion across the iOS App Store and Google Play Store represents a not inconsiderable 22.7% increase over 2017 app revenue (Sensor Tower app revenue stats). While Google Play may dominate app download statistics, it is clear that the iOS App Store is the place to be for app revenue. This is no doubt due to Apple’s strong presence in high-revenue markets, such as the US and Japan. Google on the other hand dominates in emerging markets – great for download numbers but less so for app revenues – as it currently stands. Interestingly, according to these app revenue predictions, by 2023 over 50% of European app revenue will be generated through Google Play. The same will apply in Latin America (and Africa), where world-leading growth will take total app revenue to $2.8 billion.

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