By Shanon Roberts, on 10 September 2020
Without context, the most downloaded apps of 2020 so far may look a bit surprising. 2020 certainly saw its fair share of curve balls last year. Just about every industry and sector was impacted by the year’s events, including app downloads.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the most popular apps of the year. But, marketing hasn’t stopped, and if you want to continue your mobile marketing campaigns, it's important to understand which apps are dominating the market. In order to optimize campaigns, it is essential to know how your target audience's online behavior is and which are the best channels to connect with them.
Let’s take a look at the most downloaded apps of 2020 in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store!
Top 10 Most Downloaded Apps of 2020
It’s no surprise that TikTok is one of the most downloaded apps of 2020. In April 2020, the app amassed over 2 billion downloads overall globally. Initially this app was seen as a Gen Z space only, but it has experienced an influx of new users due to world-wide lockdown measures.
As more users are stuck at home and on their phones, they’re looking for new ways to entertain themselves. Social media users are already attracted to video, and when you combine that with TikTok’s intelligent algorithm, you create a nearly irresistible app for users.
This app, along with a few video conferencing apps, was definitely one of the most unexpected apps of 2020. In April 2020, Zoom reported over 300 million daily participants and the app featured 2.13 million daily downloads in March 2020.
This boom is also directly linked to the COVID-19 crisis. As many users across the globe had to begin working from home, they sought Zoom as their video-conferencing app of choice. Zoom allows users to conduct video calls for business or for keeping in touch with loved ones.
Speaking of keeping in touch, a fair share of social media apps also experienced continued downloads in 2020. In July 2020, WhatsApp topped the list as the most popular global mobile messaging app of 2020, with over 2 billion downloads.
While WhatsApp may not be as popular in the United States, it is the leading messaging app across the rest of the globe. There are many interesting marketing opportunities with WhatsApp, and WhatsApp marketing was a forecasted 2020 marketing trend.
As the number one app in the entire world, it is no surprise that Facebook was one of the most popular apps of 2020. Facebook was especially useful during this time when people wanted to connect and stay in touch.
Facebook is consistently in the top 10 Apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. According to Statista, it is the most popular app publisher world wide, based on downloads. The Facebook family include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Facebook Advertising and marketing are two very important activities for marketers.
Like WhatsApp and Facebook, Facebook Messenger is another heavy hitter and consistent favorite in the app store. Unlike WhatsApp, Messenger is very popular in the United States, with over 2 million monthly downloads in 2020.
Rounding out the Facebook family is Instagram. This photo and video sharing app is one of the most popular apps among Gen Z and Millennials. As this app likes to keep their stats under wraps, we can only assume that due to its popularity and unmoving status in the app stores, it was surely one of the most popular apps of 2020.
Instagram is especially useful when it comes to marketing. According to Statista, brands uploaded an average of 0.7 posts to the social platform every day in 2018. Between IGTV, Instagram Lives, and Instagram Stories, the app provides plenty of opportunities for marketers to engage with their audience.
In Summer of 2020, Instagram announced their newest feature, Reels, which is a direct competition to TikTok. We don’t have any numbers on this feature yet, but it will be interesting to track how this feature evolves over time and impacts downloads.
7. Google Meet
Just like with Zoom, Google Meet experienced an unexpected boost in downloads due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2020 the app reached over 50 million downloads as users turned to the service while working from home.
Google Meet has grown in popularity during the pandemic because it was made free for all users. Previously, only GSuite members had access. As Zoom comes under fire for security concerns, more and more users have turned to Google Meet.
8. Google Classroom
Similar to Google Meet, Google Classroom has also surpassed 50 million downloads as students and teachers turn to online schooling. This app’s shot to the top 10 is incredibly remarkable when you consider that it was not even in the top 100 list before March 2020.
With more time home, users have turned to YouTube to help fill the void. In May 2020, YouTube was the most downloaded streaming app worldwide, with over 29.3 million installs.
This is great news for marketers as more and more invest in video marketing. Content marketing has been was an especially important trend in 2020, and YouTube content creation is certainly a key investment for marketers right now.
10. Microsoft Teams
Rounding off our list is Microsoft Teams. Just like with Zoom, Google Meets, and Google Classrooms, this app has boosted in the charts due to work from home efforts.
With over 44 million daily active users, Teams is certainly in new territory being so high up in the charts this year. It will be interesting to watch how these work and productivity apps evolve as the pandemic evolves globally and throughout the year.
No one could have predicted that some of these apps would have been so popular last year. It will be interesting to see how app store downloads evolve in 2021, and we'll certainly update our blog with those figures as they start to come in.