WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook were top 3 apps downloaded worldwide in Q2 2019

App downloads worldwide are up 11% from last year, and Facebook owns the top 3 most popular apps downloaded. What marketers should know on trends in AR, games, video.

Date published
August 16, 2019 Categories

These are the most popular apps downloaded worldwide for Q2 2019. What can we learn from these as marketers and how can we improve our digital approach?

Sensor Tower has released its Apps Worldwide Report for Q2 2019 looking at the most popular apps. The report provides very useful insights into the latest trends in app downloads and how they are shaping our mobile consumption habits.

The increase in apps downloaded 

According to the report, there has been a global increase in app downloads of 11.5% from last year. More specifically, worldwide app store downloads have increased by 2.9% while the big change took place in worldwide Google Play downloads with an increase of 14.9%.

There were 7.4 billion App Store downloads in Q2 2019 and 21.3 billion Google Play downloads. It’s not a surprise that Google Play is more popular worldwide and it’s also interesting to pay attention to the devices that our target audience is probably using more.

The top apps for Q2 2019

The top 5 apps in worldwide downloads are:

These five apps have actually been at the top since Q1 2018. Snapchat has also been on the rise reaching the sixth position, its best ranking in a quarter since Q2 2017.

More specifically, the top 5 downloads in the App Store were:

When it comes to Google Play the top 5 downloads for Q2 2019 were:

It’s interesting to observe the slight differences in the rankings from the App Store to Google Play and how YouTube, for example, is ranking first on App Store, compared to WhatsApp that remains first in Android devices.

As for the overall US downloads, the only difference in the rankings is the addition of Netflix proving its popularity in the entertainment choices. Snapchat has also claimed the second spot in the ranking this quarter with almost 10 million downloads:

Top categories in worldwide downloads

Looking at the most popular categories in worldwide downloads, games are winning the others by far. In the last quarter there has been a 9% YoY decrease in the Games category but this quarter there’s an increase of 5.1%. Photo and Video apps come second with entertainment, utilities and social networking following.

All of them saw a slight increase in the number of downloads from Q2 2018 but what’s interesting from a marketer’s perspective is the big difference between the games and the rest of the categories. It’s a useful observation when planning your app marketing strategies and how you can tap into mobile users.

The state of social video apps

There are many social video apps and the competition is remaining strong. TikTok was ranking first at the end of last year, while Instagram was the 10th most popular app in Q1 2019 in the US. However, in Q2 2019 none of the two is reaching the top 10 charts. On the contrary, Snapchat has now shown up as the second most popular social video app in the US with 1.5 million downloads. This was the second-highest US downloads growth among non-games apps in Q2 2019.

Social video apps and US downloads

A closer look at the social video apps and the US downloads indicates how TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram are battling in this competitive market.

Snapchat saw its first growth in a quarter in Q2 2019 since Q1 2017. There were 18% more downloads YoY while TikTok saw a drop of 48% compared to Q2 2018.

Why did Snapchat grow in this quarter?

The rise of Snapchat in this quarter is attributed to the popularity of Yolo, an anonymous Q&A app that is integrated with Snapchat. It was built in May using the Snap Kit and it saw a viral reaction to the option of using a new gender swap filter.

Snapchat users are able to receive anonymous responses using Snap Kit and it could be a great opportunity for Snapchat to integrate more similar apps in the future.

The state of AR games

AR technology is having great potential in many different industries.

AR games have become extremely popular with Pokémon GO back in 2016. Niantic capitalized on its fame by launching Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in June. The idea was to launch a game that can become even more popular than Pokémon GO in the AR game industry.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite had 14.1 million installs in the first 20 days since its launch and it saw $9.7 million in gross revenue. The numbers are impressive especially when comparing them to other AR games such as Jurassic World Alive and The Walking Dead: Our World.

However, these numbers are nowhere close to Pokémon GO with Niantic raising the bars high back in 2016. Pokémon GO had revenue of $187 million in the first 20 days, which is almost 20 times higher than the amount that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite had.

It might be hard to beat the impressive numbers of Pokémon GO but there will definitely be more AR games coming up aiming to introduce a new level of engagement among gamers.


Marketing insights are vital to design a successful campaign. We cannot ignore the changing trends in app consumption especially as the number of mobile users keeps increasing.

What we can learn from a marketer’s perspective from these stats is that different devices and countries can lead to different trends. However, there are overall trends that help us understand what people want from mobile apps.

Engaging apps, social video apps, and gamification can lead to great success.

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