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Blog image-Sensor Tower Report

Continuous Growth of Mobile Leads to Impressive Number of Game App Downloads

Posted Jun 22, 2022

With over 6.3 billion smartphone users around the world, no one is able to deny that the mobile app industry is continuously growing. It’s not just any phones though: It’s smartphones, and with the growth in smartphones, app downloads and usage are still growing constantly, without any sign of slowing, according to Sensor Tower’s latest report.

According to Mobile Market 2022-2026 Forecast Report, Google Play will contribute 143 billion downloads with 5.2% annual growth, while Apple’s App Store will approach 38 billion with about 3% annual growth which leads to an overall mobile app download that is expected to surpass 180 billion by 2026.

Global Mobile App Download Forecast 

While mobile app adoption increased impressively at the start of the pandemic in 2020, the metrics have started to show some readjustment in 2022. The growth rate is expected to remain low in the short- term since the market saw an abnormally high level in 2020 but is expected to bounce back again over the next four years.

App Store Downloads by Region

The App Store downloads in Africa are projected to see an excessive increase of 119% by 2026, where it closed 2021 with 359 million downloads.

Google Play Downloads by Region

When we look at the projected downloads in Google Play, Asia, which is already highly penetrated with smartphones, will see an exceptional increase rate of 41% which is expected to reach 73.8 billion by 2026.

 Europe Mobile App Download Forecast 

Some of the largest markets in Europe lead projected growth over the next five years. In total European Google Play and App Store downloads are projected to reach 30.2 billion by 2026, 8.9 billion from the App Store, and 21.3 billion from Google Play. 

 U.S. Mobile App Download Forecast

When we look at the U.S. market, App Store and Google Play downloads are projected to see an increase over the next five years with a +0.5% CAGR and reach 13.4 billion downloads by 2026. If American regulations allow for side-loading on iOS and mandate it on Android, these numbers could be underestimated! 

App Store Countries by Downloads

The U.S. and China compete in a challenging race for the top rank on the App Store, with each projected to see 7.5 billion downloads in 2022. Almost all top markets are expected to remain constant over the next five years. 

Top Countries in Europe by Downloads 

Except for Germany and France, all countries are projected to see an increase by 2026. Much of the download growth in the region will be driven by eastern European countries such as Ukraine, Romania, Poland, and Russia.

App Store Download Growth for Games vs. Apps 

App installs for games and apps surged at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 before normalizing (though still above 2019 levels) in 2021. Especially, game apps are looking at a positive trendline to return in 2022 through 2026.

Game downloads are projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2026, a CAGR of 2.3%. Meanwhile, app installs will approach 28 billion with a CAGR of just higher than 3%. 

App Store Download Share by Category 

When we look at the App Store downloads by category, the relative market share seems to remain mostly stable over the next five years. On the other hand, game app installs are still leaning toward positive growth over the next five years.

Google Play Download Growth for Games vs. Apps

The download growth of game apps in Google Play is projected to see a continuous increase over the 5 years and should reach 63 billion downloads by 2026.

Google Play Download Share by Category

By category, game apps still keep a stable market share and should continue to capture mobile users’ attention.

The mobile app market began to readjust itself. While growth in most categories and countries has slowed in 2022, look for an acceleration into 2023 and beyond as the landscape returns to a more normal download pattern mix. After all, game apps are still mobile users’ most approved and popular type of app between all categories and keep developing engaging features.

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