by Al Sacco

The 16 Most Popular Mobile Apps in the World

Sep 09, 20132 mins
MobileMobile AppsSmall and Medium Business

An online-research firm released a list of what it says are the most popular mobile apps in the world. blogger Al Sacco says the list is questionable, but it does provide some interesting findings.

The infographic in this post supposedly spotlights the 16 most popular mobile apps in the world, based on usage. It comes from online-research firm GlobalWebIndex, which asked respondents, “Which of the following mobile applications have you used in the past month?”


(Click to enlarge)

The exact methodology used to garner these numbers is a bit unclear, and I think it’s safe to say that the inforgraphic isn’t exactly “scientific.” The numbers are apparently based on a survey of randomly selected “internet users aged 16-64 from the most highly respected research panels in the market research industry.” Whatever that means.  And GlobalWebIndex did not specify how many respondents it queried. (Read more about GlobalWebIndex’s methodology here.). As such, you should take the infographic and the information contained within with a healthy dose of kosher salt.

From the research company:

“We’ve identified the apps that are actually used by the 969.49m strong global smartphone population…GlobalWebIndex’s top 10 of actively used smartphone apps [is] based on the % of global smartphone users who have taken advantage of the services they offer in the last month.”

Here are a few observations of note:

  1. Google makes three of the four most popular smartphones apps in the world, according to GlobalWebIndex: Google Maps; YouTube; and Google+, all of which are available on multiple mobile platforms. So while Google continues to flog user privacy in its Gmail email service and Chrome browser, Internet users clearly aren’t mad enough about the invasions to stop using Google’s mobile apps.
  2. Eight of the 16, or 50 percent, of the top mobile apps in GlobalWebIndex’s ranking are social-media apps.
  3. The fifth most popular app in the index is Weixin/Wechat, a Chinese chat app that’s “basically used only in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia.” I’d never heard of this service, but it’s supposedly used by 27 percent of the global smartphone population. Considering it’s mostly used in just a few countries, the usage rate in those countries must be through the roof. That is one popular chat app. In fact, it’s reportedly more popular than both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.