By Shanon Roberts, on 15 March 2021
Without context, the most downloaded apps of 2021 so far may look a bit surprising. 2020 certainly saw its fair share of curve balls. Just about every industry and sector was impacted by the year’s events, including app downloads and this of course has carried over into 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big 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 what your target audience's online behavior is and what are the best channels to connect with them.
Let’s take a look at the current most downloaded apps of 2021 in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Keep in mind that certain apps that are growing fast (like Clubhouse) are not on this list because they are only for iPhone users and therefore not as widely downloaded.
Top 10 Most Downloaded Apps of 2021
It’s no surprise that TikTok is one of the most downloaded apps of 2021. By April of last year, the app had 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.
As the number one app in the entire world, it is no surprise that Facebook is one of the most popular apps of 2021. Facebook has been 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 includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Facebook Advertising and marketing are two very important activities for marketers.
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. Though this app likes to keep their stats under wraps, it's fair to assume that due to its popularity and unmoving status in the app stores, it has surely retained its popularity in 2021.
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 in direct competition with TikTok. It will be interesting to see how this feature evolves over time and impacts downloads.
Speaking of keeping in touch, a fair share of social media apps also experienced continued downloads in 2021. WhatsApp has approximately 2 billion users globally.
While WhatsApp may not be as popular in the United States, it is the leading messaging app across the rest of the globe. It provides opportunities for businesses to keep in contact with their clients and customers through personalized messages, special offers and more. There are many interesting marketing opportunities with WhatsApp as WhatsApp marketing continues to grow.
Another popular messaging app is Telegram, a free app with about 500 million active monthly users ,which can be used to send photos, videos, and different types of documents in addition to regular messages.
Telegram supports mentions, hashtags, and has cross platform availability, making it convenient for businesses and large organizations. It also makes it possible to create groups of up to 200,000 and to create both private and public channels, which you can invite your customers to join. This provides a variety of marketing opportunities as you can share images and information about new products or services, provide links to landing pages, create a chatbot to answer customer queries, etc.
A number of Chinese apps, such as TikTok are banned in India so others have been created to fill the void. Moj is a great example of this It allows users to make short videos of up to 15 seconds and add various effects to personalize them. Its simple user interface makes it easy for people to interact through comments, likes, shares, and so on.
This app is relatively new, making its debuted in July 2020 and quickly racking up millions of viewers. It has over 80 million active monthly users who spend an average of 34 minutes on the app every day.
This app, along with a few video conferencing apps, was definitely one of the most successful apps of the past year. In April 2020, Zoom reported over 300 million daily participants and the app featured 38 million downloads in January 2021 alone.
This boom is directly linked to the COVID-19 crisis. As many users across the globe had to continue working from home, they used 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.
Snapchat has been downloaded well over 200 million times and is especially popular with a young demographic of people 34 and under, particularly in the United States.
Snapchat can be used both for fun and for business as it has a feature called Instant Create that lets you quickly and easily make ads and then share them based on location in order to make sure they are seen by your target demographic. In this way, Snapchat can be a useful marketing tool
Like WhatsApp and Facebook itself, Facebook Messenger is another heavy hitter and consistent favorite in the app store. Unlike WhatsApp, Messenger is very popular in the United States and is expected to reach 2.4 billion users in 2021.
Like many of the other apps on this list, Facebook Messenger can be used effectively for both personal and professional communication. Whether sharing photos with friends or sharing a new product or service with followers, this app allows you to reach your audience quickly and easily.
10. MX TakaTak
Like Moj, MX TakaTak is another video sharing app from India that lets you can create your own videos, see what's trending at a given time, and search for videos on topics that interest you.
Although this app is primarily used in India, it does support content in English, making it possible for international brands and influencers to get involved. It also get has about 10 million daily users and about 45 million monthly users.
No one could have predicted that some of these apps would have become so popular. It will be interesting to see how app store downloads continue to evolve over the course of 2021, and we'll certainly update our blog with those figures as they start to come in.