Report: The most successful and more profitable apps of 2018


The famous analysis company AppAnnie has published a long and detailed report that gives us a clear picture of the state of the market for mobile apps.

Many names and figures were to be expected, but there are also some surprises. Let’s see, which are the 10 most successful apps – by revenue and by downloads – of 2018.

Apps in 2018: The Numbers

In 2018, 194 billion apps and games were downloaded, which led to a total expense of 101 billion dollars. Each user spent on average three hours a day in front of the screen and, somewhat surprisingly, users from 25 years upwards spent much more time playing on smartphones than people born after 2000.

Over the past two years, the number of apps downloaded has grown by 35% globally. The fastest growth registered was that of India, which in 2018 had a jump of 165% in terms of the number of downloads.

But what are people doing on their smartphone? According to the findings of AppAnnie, a large number of hours are spent on Video Players & Editors which, over the past two years, have increased their numbers by 125%.

Among the categories of apps used for the longest time, photography and entertainment follow. The concept of entertainment includes a wide selection of apps, not only of music and videos but also of games, such as online slot machines or even UK’s list of betting sites. In any case, from 2016 to 2018, the time spent using mobile apps increased by 50% and the country where users spent more time on their smartphone was Indonesia, with an average of over 4 hours a day.

The Top 5 Apps by revenue

But which are the most successful – and more profitable – apps of 2018? According to AppAnnie, in 2018 the games reached 74% of store revenues. In China, there was a 105% growth, which put the Asian country definitely at the top of the charts, with about 28 billion dollars spent. The United States and Japan follow.

But, apart from video games, the app where users spent the most money on subscriptions – and therefore the app with the highest revenue – is easy to guess: Netflix, of course. In 2018, the turnover through the App Store alone amounted to around 853 million. The rest of the 2018 Top 5 Apps by revenue is a little less intuitive, namely:

  • Tinder
  • Tencent Video
  • iQIYI (a Chinese video portal)
  • Pandora Music

However, we can already anticipate that in the first quarter of 2019, Netflix is no longer the most profitable app, neither for the App Store nor for the Play Store. After two years at the top of the ranking, the sceptre passes to Tinder, which sees revenue grow by 42% in this first quarter of 2019, compared to Q1 2018. The most famous dating app sure has its merits, but the decisive factor is another: Netflix no longer allows users new subscriptions through the app, so as not to have to pay commissions to Apple and Google.

The Top 5 Apps by Downloads

Moving on to talk about the pure number of downloads – without considering the revenue – in the Top 5 we find almost only messaging apps and social networks. WhatsApp is in the first place almost everywhere in the world, but with some variation: Snapchat occupies the first place for monthly users in France and in the USA.

Also no big surprise, in the Asian market we find other names: WeChat triumphs in China, LINE conquers Japan and KakaoTalk dominates in South Korea. WhatsApp is then followed by Facebook Messenger in the second place, and TikTok, a Chinese video portal – since YouTube is not available in this country – in third place. Instagram occupies fifth place after the fourth of Facebook.

Who knows how the Top 5 Apps by revenue and by downloads will look like at the end of 2019. For instance, Tinder could probably continue its growth, but also new interesting apps could enter the market. Meanwhile, one thing is sure: The App Store continues to be the leader in terms of revenue, while the Play Store for download.