Mobile Internet & Apps

With 5G technology being rolled out across the globe and the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping the way we view mobile communication; mobile internet is in a peak state of growth. Developers are responding to shifting technological demands, and the rate of mobile consumption has reached unprecedented levels. This, combined with the ever-increasing portability of smart devices, has led to on-the-go connectivity emerging as the new norm.

Global mobile internet population
Mobile internet traffic as share of total global online traffic
Number of mobile app downloads worldwide in 2020

Market size

Mobile internet use highest in Africa and Asia
Mobile internet traffic as percentage of total web traffic in August 2021, by region
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By 2020, mobile internet made up roughly 60 percent of the total regional web traffic in Africa and Asia. While the market is nearing saturation in Europe and North America, the industry appears to be booming in previously lesser-connected nations. With mobile devices now costing a fraction of what they used to, this increased affordability coupled with the rapid expansion of network infrastructure in developing nations could signal plenty of room for future growth within these regions.

Mobile internet usage worldwide
Forecast of the mobile internet penetration in India
Mobile Money in Africa

Market segments

App downloads at an all-time global high
Number of mobile app downloads worldwide from 2016 to 2021 (in billions)
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The number of mobile app downloads worldwide has risen steadily, reaching an impressive 204 billion downloads in 2019 – a near 50 percent growth since 2016. As the ownership of tablets, wearable tech and smartphones continues to rise in many parts of the world along with the constant emergence of new technologies, mobile app development is thriving. As app technology improves, global app expenditure by consumers is also growing.

Mobile app usage
Mobile app monetization
Number of apps downloaded worldwide, by category

Industry leaders

Android’s market dominance
Mobile operating systems' market share worldwide from January 2012 to January 2022
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In recent years, the mobile operating system space has been a battlefield between two giants – iOS and Android. Despite the financial success of Apple’s iOS, Android is more popular because it is the default on cheaper mobile devices. While it may be arguable which platform is the better of the two, Android has dominated the landscape for the last eight years, laying claim to a substantial 73 percent of the global market at the end of 2020.

Mobile app consumer spending worldwide, by store
Mobile operating systems

Industry trends

Second screen usage has become the norm
Share of people using other devices while watching TV worldwide in 2021, by country
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As the ownership of smart devices becomes increasingly commonplace – particularly in affluent regions, individuals are more likely to surf the web, log on to social media, or communicate with others whilst watching TV. Over two-thirds of people in the US, the U.K. and Germany use other devices while watching television.

Second screen usage
Smartphone use while watching TV in the United States
Social media use while watching TV in the UK, by age group

Coronavirus impact

Medical app downloads surge during COVID-19
Growth in the number of medical apps downloaded during the COVID-19 pandemic by country in 2020*
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The COVID-19 pandemic saw a surge in the download of medical mobile apps. This was most noticeable in South Korea, which experienced a 135 percent growth in medical app downloads between January 2020 and the peak month of the pandemic. India, with a 90 percent growth followed close behind. On average, medical apps saw a 65 percent growth worldwide during this period.

Coronavirus impact on media consumption worldwide
Digital health
Adoption of government endorsed COVID-19 contact tracing apps around the world

Industry Definition

Statista offers comprehensive data on the rapidly changing mobile internet industry. In this section, users can find an overview of the number of mobile internet users, global and regional mobile internet penetration rates, and other relevant insights into the current state of mobile internet adoption.

The database contains a wide range of statistics on mobile internet usage, including user demographics and survey data on popular smartphone activities. Statista also provides market shares for leading mobile operating systems and identifies the world’s most popular apps and app stores based on app store revenues, mobile app downloads, and mobile advertising revenues alike.

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