It’s been said that 2015 is the year of the smartwatch; the year that wearable tech will finally rise from niche popularity and become mainstream. And while the popularity of the Apple Watch or Pebble Watch may show an element of truth in that, the reality is that smartphones and tablets continue to overwhelmingly rule the world of mobile devices.
The dominance of smartphones and tablets has forced web-based companies to adapt, any website that wants to survive had better be optimized for mobile. But, as anyone who uses a smartphone knows, the best way to get anything done on your phone is by using apps. Every year, more and more apps are being downloaded, and in 2015 worldwide app distribution and downloads have risen to dizzying heights.
As of July 2015, there were approximately 4 million combined apps available for download in the Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Windows Phone Store, and Blackberry World. Of course, there is some repetition as the same app is available for many different platforms, but that doesn’t diminish from the enormity of the choices available.
And if the number of available apps is itself amazing, the number of apps downloaded so far in 2015 is simply staggering. Since October 2014, over 15 billion unique apps have been downloaded from the Apple App Store alone. Numbers for Android-based phones are a little more difficult to come by, due to the more open nature of the platform, but with Android the most popular mobile OS on the planet, it is easy to imagine the number of downloads far exceeding those of Apple.
Of the tens of billions of apps downloaded this year, the majority of those are games; more than one out of every five apps downloaded from the Apple App Store is a game. Obviously, games like Angry Birds and Pou are constantly going to be popular, especially amongst the ever-growing amount of children using smartphones and tablets, but they are hardly the only important type of app out there.
Social media apps continue to be among the most popular apps globally in 2015. Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp all are among the top 10 Android downloads of the year. Camera and video apps such as Instagram and YouTube are also some of the most popular apps, with tens of millions of downloads each across multiple platforms.
In the past few years, smartphones have moved from being curious toys to indispensable business aids, and this is reflected in the huge number of business and productivity apps downloaded this year. More than one out of every ten apps is focused on business. Many of these apps, such as Dropbox, Office Suite, or the near-ubiquitous Gmail app, allow people to organize their life and work more productively.
Additionally, more and more apps are being downloaded that actually help businesses themselves provide their product or service more efficiently. Accounting apps, mobile order-taking apps, video conferencing apps, and plenty of others have accounted for hundreds of millions of downloads in 2015. Given this year’s growth, the final numbers for 2015 app downloads should break all records.