Sensor Tower: The top 1% of publishers account for 80% of all app downloads

New data from Sensor Tower’s Store Intelligence platform reveals that the top-performing 1% of publishers globally accounted for 80% of the 29.6 billion app downloads in Q3 2019, leaving just 20% (6 billion) for the remaining 99% of publishers to fight over.

There were more than 3.4 million apps available globally across the App Store and Google Play in 2018, an increase of 65% from the 2.2 million apps available in 2014. However, the percentage of apps that have been downloaded at least 1,000 times has decreased over the same period, from 30% in 2014 to 26% in 2018. In other words, in a continually growing market where most publishers are competing against the publishers controlling 80% of all new user acquisition, standing out among the competition is more crucial than ever.

Top 1% by downloads

There were approximately 792,000 publishers globally across both the App Store and Google Play in 2019’s third quarter.

  • The top 7,920, or 1% generated 23.6 billion unique installs, or 80% of both stores’ combined total of 29.6 billion downloads.
  • The remaining 6 billion downloads were shared among the remaining 784,080 publishers—averaging out to approximately 7,650 downloads per publisher in this bottom 99%.
  • That’s less than one thousandth of a percent of the downloads generated by a publisher like Facebook, which saw 682 million new installs during the same period.
Top 1% by revenue

With an analysis of revenue the gap widened further:

  • Out of a total $22 billion in gross revenue generated during Q3 2019, the 1,526 publishers comprising the top 1% generated $20.5 billion.
  • Meanwhile, just $1.5 billion, or 7%, of all revenue was left over for the 151,056 publishers in the bottom 99%. That averages out to a little more than $9,900 per publisher per quarter.

Given these factors, publishers will need to be persistent in improving the organic discoverability of their apps in addition to paid acquisition. This is possible through continual App Store Optimization aided by platforms such as App Intelligence. With the ever-increasing number of available apps on both stores creating a nearly endless pool of potential, we’re curious to see how these trends in popularity, discoverability, and market share evolve over time.

Katie Williams, Mobile Insights Strategist, Sensor Tower