A small group of apps dominates discovery and installs

The vast majority of apps in the Google Play store are rarely installed, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. The report analyzed over 1 million apps in Google’s Android operating system in 2014 to determine the quantity and nature of permissions that programs request from users.

Android App Downloads

The report’s data on installs illustrates just how lopsided Google’s app store has become. It also points to just how difficult it is for developers to promote new apps.

  • Nearly half (47%) of all apps available in the store during the period of the study had been installed fewer than 500 times, and more than 90% had been installed fewer than 50,000 times.
  • At the same time, a small group of highly visible apps are installed by vast numbers of users. Four apps were installed between 1 billion and 5 billion times during the period examined
    — Google Maps, Gmail, Google Play Services, and YouTube. It is important to note that these apps come preloaded on Android devices.
  • Facebook, Google Play Books, Google+, Google Search, Google Text-to-Speech, Google Street View, and WhatsApp were in the next group of apps installed in the 500 million-1 billion download range.

Will McKitterick and Laurie Beaver | November 20, 2015

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