Number of paid mobile app downloads worldwide from 2011 to 2017 (in billions)

This statistic provides information on the number of paid mobile apps downloaded from app stores from 2011 to 2013 in billions. In 2012, approximately 6.65 billion paid apps were downloaded via mobile devices. By 2016, download figures for paid mobile apps are projected to reach 13.49 billion. A forecast is also offered for the years 2014 to 2017.


App monetization

The majority of mobile apps are free to download but some app developers generate their revenue through paid downloads. Mobile app monetization is not only restricted to paid downloads but also includes freemium apps with in-app purchases, so-called in-app commerce, as well as mobile advertising. For paid mobile apps, a share of the revenue goes to the distributor and the rest to the app developer. Monetization potential and app revenue can vary by geographical region and by operating system.

Currently, only four percent of the 100 top-grossing apps in the Google Play store are paid apps. This is a stark contrast to the Apple App Store for iPad, where 31 percent of top-grossing apps are paid. Overall, the Apple App Store provides developers with a higher monetization potential.

Mobile apps were originally offered as information retrieval and productivity tools such as calendars, e-mail, stock market and weather information. The mobile app market has rapidly expanded due to public demand and the availability of developer tools. Currently, some of the most popular app categories include entertainment, education and games. One of the most popular forms of gaming apps are social games which rely on interactions between users and thus produce high levels of user engagement.

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 App downloads in billions
2011 2.89
2012 6.65
2013 9.19
2014* 11.11
2015* 12.57
2016* 13.49
2017* 14.78
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