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App Annie reveals the most downloaded apps of 2021, and the champion doesn't surprise

The State of Mobile 2022 report, produced by the consultancy App Annie, was released with the ranking of most downloaded apps and games in 2021. The result does not come as a surprise to anyone, as TikTok was again the program with the most downloads of last year in the world . In second place was Instagram and in third place Facebook, which shows the strength of short videos.

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The research considered data extracted from the App Store (iOS), Play Store (Android) and other Chinese Android stores. In cases where there are two versions of the app — one global and one regional, as in the case of TikTok and Douyin — the company chose to unify the information.

The amount of downloads has dropped compared to the previous year, although people are installing more apps than ever before in history. In 2021, there were more than 230 billion transfers, a new record, but with a slower pace of growth than before. In January of last year, the growth in downloads was 7%, but in 2022 the rate was only 5%.

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Most downloaded apps in 2021

  1. TikTok
  2. Instagram
  3. Facebook
  4. Whatsapp
  5. telegram
  6. Snapchat
  7. Facebook Messenger
  8. Zoom Cloud Meetings
  9. CapCut
  10. Spotify
Despite having the most downloads and being the leader in consumer spending, TIkTok is only sixth in active monthly users (Image: Playback/App Annie)

YouTube, which does not even appear in the list of active users or downloads, is the second place when it comes to consumer spending. Much of this is due to the tipping system sent by viewers to streamers , which helps to fatten the savings of creators and the platform. A similar phenomenon can be noticed on Twitch, with its paid subscription model, bits and partnership with Amazon Prime Video.

Another highlight is Tinder: the most popular dating app in the world follows in the third position of user spending. It seems that the pandemic has made people more needy, a fact that leads to investing time and money in premium features to find a match .

Even with the drop in the number of transfers, there's no denying the power of Meta and its apps. In terms of monthly active users, the company occupies the top four positions, with Facebook as the absolute leader and WhatsApp messenger in second place.

Most downloaded games in 2021

  1. FreeFire
  2. Subway Surfers
  3. roblox
  4. bridge race
  5. candy Crush Saga
  6. PUBG Mobile
  7. Ludo King
  8. Hair Challenge
  9. Among Us!
  10. Join Clash 3D
Roblox was third in number of downloads, but first in user spending (Image: Playback/App Annie)

In games, it's interesting to see how Roblox has grown to occupy the space that was once Minecraft. The world simulation game is already the third most downloaded on the planet and the champion in total consumer spending. In addition, the Roblox Corporation title is already the top 2 in total active users, only behind PUBG Mobile.

Fever in Brazil, Free Fire was the most downloaded game on the planet. The popular shooting game is lightweight, runs on most mobile phones and has a very active and passionate community, which has given it the fourth position in total active users.

The year 2021 may have been the year of the resumption of the old Candy Crush Saga. Although the game has never failed to appear on the most downloaded list, today the title is the fifth most downloaded on the planet and occupies the same position in the ranking of financial revenue. In terms of active users, Candy Crush is the third in the world, the result of a strategy of constant addition of content by King.


App Annie's research also delved into individualized categories such as finance apps, retail sales, audio and video streaming, health and fitness, food and beverage, travel, dating and more. Here are some interesting facts:

  • Gaming: An additional $16 billion in spending occurred in 2021, bringing the total to $116 billion;
  • Finance: Finance app downloads in India reached 1 billion in 2021, which represented a 28% year-over-year increase in the category to 5.9 billion worldwide.
  • Shopping: Time spent on shopping apps has reached over 100 billion hours spent globally, an increase of 18%. The fastest growing countries include Indonesia, Singapore and Brazil (52%, 46% and 45% respectively);
  • Video streaming: Total hours spent watching video streaming apps grew by 16% worldwide. In China, there was a drop in time after the migration to TikTok and Kwai;
    Food & Beverage: Sessions on food and beverage apps reached 62 billion in 2021. Several regions drove growth in Q4, including the US (42%), Russia (154%), Turkey (75%) and Indonesia (900+ %).
  • Health and fitness: Worldwide downloads of these apps surpassed pre-covid levels in 2021, despite a slight reduction in the 2020 pandemic high in most countries. The top five meditation apps in the world saw 27% year-over-year growth in consumer spending;
  • Social: Time spent on the top 25 live streaming apps has surpassed the total for other social apps by 40%. Global spending on these 25 live apps grew 6.5 times from 2018 and 55% from 2020 to 2021 — TikTok had growth rates of up to 75%;
  • Travel: Travel app downloads rebounded by 20% in the second half, driven by sharp increases from July to December 2021. Second half downloads reached 1.95 billion globally, approaching pre-pandemic levels of 2 .08 billion in the second half of 2019;
  • Dating: Worldwide consumer spending on dating apps reached $4 billion in 2021, up 95% since 2018. The growth was mainly driven by the US, Japan, China and the UK.

Will the year 2022 be even better than 2021 in the environment of digital applications for mobile phones and tablets? Everything points to yes, if current conditions remain intact.

Read the article on A Market Analysis .

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