A trove of Google Play data from analytics company App Annie reveals that the most downloaded apps of all time aren’t too surprising but that a majority of the revenues for the top grossing apps come from Japan.
The report, which looks at data from January 2012 to March 2016, shows that Facebook is the most downloaded app on Google Play, followed by WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) and Facebook Messenger. In fact, the only app in the most downloaded top five that isn’t owned by Facebook is Cheetah Mobile’s Clean Master. Instagram took the number four spot.
For the top-grossing apps (not games), Line came out on top – with the top three spots (Line, Line Play and Line Manga) in the highest grossing list, all of which were largely driven by a huge audience in Japan.
However, games far outstripped any other type of app by revenues; App Annie says that overall, games account for about 90 percent of all revenue across the store, with the top grossing being Puzzle & Dragons, Clash of Clans, and Monster Strike. The most downloaded Google Play game, however, is Subway Surfers.
The company says that emerging markets have continued to play a role in increasing downloads across Google Play as a whole.
Interestingly, while games are the most popular downloads and make the most money, they don’t actually perform that well in keeping users coming back. Across all countries, apps had between a two and four times longer retention rate than games across a 30-day period, largely attributable to the most popular apps being communication, messaging and productivity-focused.
Some people, however, are always going to be (understandably) uncomfortable that only a handful of companies own a majority of people’s key communication channels nowadays.