When it comes to smartphones and other mobile devices, people love their apps. They certainly download enough of them: According to Apple, on average, every iPhone sold has 119 downloaded apps on it.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, however, 30% percent of the time those downloaded apps are not being put to regular use. In fact, 80% of the three and a half hours per day you spend on your mobile phone is likely dedicated to just five favorites.
In all likelihood your “stickiest” five favorites include several of the most popular mobile apps, according to recent studies and research conducted by comScore, Nielsen and Statista.
Top 10 Most Popular Apps
These are the ones that have captured the largest user audiences.
1. Facebook – Facebook owns three of the top 10 apps, including the company’s signature social media website app. With 76.8% of the entire U.S. mobile phone audience and 126.7 million unique monthly users, Facebook is clearly the champ on all platforms, according to comScore and Nielsen.
2. YouTube – Google’s YouTube mobile app comes in at number two according to Nielsen and Statista and number three behind Facebook Messenger with comScore. With 97.6 million monthly uniques and a 61.3% share of the U.S. mobile audience, YouTube leads all other mobile video apps – by a lot.
3. Facebook Messenger – Statista and Nielsen peg Facebook Messenger at number three while comScore says it is number two in popularity. A year ago the app was in twelfth place and comScore credits the sudden and significant rise to the importance of messaging apps in general and Facebook’s ability to successfully split its messenger app off from the main Facebook application. Messenger has a 62.5% share of the mobile audience, according to comScore and 96.4 million unique monthly users according to Nielsen.
4. Google Play – Smartphone apps have to come from somewhere. “Somewhere” for Android users is the Google Play app which offers Android users access to apps, movies, music, books and more. At number four for comScore in overall popularity, Google Play has almost 90 million unique monthly users and is accessed by 51.9% of the mobile universe in the U.S.
5. Google Search – The phrase “Google it” has become synonymous for “Internet search” at least to the more than 95 million monthly smartphone users who rely on Google Search and have put it in the number five position overall. More than 50% of the U.S. mobile audience and 95 million monthly users apparently agree.
6. Google Maps – One of the most often used features of a smartphone is its ability to locate, map and provide directions. The most used map product, Google Maps, number six in popularity per Nielsen, has nearly 87.7 million users and owns half the U.S. mobile audience.
7. Gmail – Rounding out Google’s popularity dominance in smartphone apps is number seven, Google’s widely used Gmail (email) app. The ability to sync with desktops and tablets makes Gmail the go-to app for 44.5% of U.S. mobile users, which comes to about 75 million unique users each month.
8. Pandora – Although it did not make Nielsen’s top 10, Pandora Radio captures 41.2% of the U.S. market according to Statista and 44.2% according to comScore. That’s enough for the number eight spot for this popular listening service.
9. Instagram – Facebook’s photo and video sharing app, called Instagram, is highly regarded by its more than 55 million users and comes in at number nine in popularity with somewhere between 37.7% and 319.1% market share, depending on whether one goes with Statista or comScore.
10. Apple Music – Apple’s newly minted, comprehensive music service captures more than 32% market share according to comScore. Statista claims the number is slightly lower at 30.6%. According to Nielsen, 54.5 million listeners tune in on a regular basis, enough to get Apple on the top 10 list of “stickiest” mobile apps.
Despite the impressive numbers for the “winners,” The Wall Street Journal says the average app loses 77% of its users within just three days after being downloaded.
This has led to speculation about a new wave of alternatives to apps. The popularity of WeChat in Asia leads many to believe chat will be riding the crest of that wave with so-called chat bots or interactive computer programs becoming the most favored app replacement.
If chat doesn’t do the trick, there are those who believe the mobile Web will replace apps through a technology called “progressive Web apps.” These apps act like regular apps, but load in the mobile browser instead of serving as a separate program.
The Bottom Line
Your favorite apps won’t be going away anytime soon. Technology is fast, but not that fast. The most used apps serve a purpose and people have grown to depend on them for specific tasks.
The stickiest phone apps have that distinction for a reason. On the other hand, if you have a large number of apps that are rarely or never used, now might be a good time to do a little “unsticking.”