How Many Daily Downloads Does It Take To Reach The Top Of The App Store?

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Knowing how many downloads it will take to reach the top 25 charts in the US App Store is valuable information. This data allows publishers to identify which app categories are the most competitive, validate app business plans and research potentially lucrative niche app categories. The last comprehensive estimate of this data was released in May 2012.

A lot has changed since then. There are now more than 1 million apps in the App Store. With more apps and more downloads, the numbers required to reach the top 25 charts have changed substantially.

The Chocolate Lab Apps data analysis team has today released four charts with the updated figures for Dec 2013. All data is based on estimated daily download figures in the Apple App Store for iPhone in the United States in early December 2013. Sources are listed at end of post. (Apple does not release actual data.)

Free apps are dominating the App Store, and games continue to be the most downloaded category in the store. 49,270 downloads are needed to reach the top 25 free games in the USA (iPhone).

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Top25

For non-games, the categories with the most free app downloads are social networking, music and entertainment, with a total of 17,880 downloads required to reach the top 25 free apps in the competitive social networking in the USA for iPhones.

The new kids category requires a total of 4,380 daily free downloads to get to the top 25 list in the US App Store.

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Top25

The figures required to reach the top 25 paid apps lists are substantially lower than in the free charts. The most competitive non-game categories for paid apps are as follows:

  • Photography (790 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Healthcare & Fitness (650 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Entertainment (520 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Productivity (410 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Utilities (400 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Photography apps are now the most downloaded paid non-games apps in the Apple App Store.

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    Paid Healthcare & Fitness apps have increased in popularity in the last 18 months.

    In May 2012, this category required 170 daily downloads in order to reach the top 25 charts and was the 4th most popular non-games category. Now in December 2013, this category requires 650 daily downloads to reach the top 25 paid charts.

    Healthcare & Fitness is now the second most popular paid non-games category in the app store.

    Stats from May 2012:

  • Entertainment (350 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Photography (270 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Utilities (210 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Healthcare & Fitness (170 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Productivity (130 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Education (130 DLs required daily to reach the top 25)
  • Top25

    The most competitive sub-categories in free games are Arcade, Simulation and Action. The least competitive categories are dice, music and trivia. An Arcade game requires 17,500 downloads per day to reach the iPhone top 25 free arcade games list in the US App Store.

    Top25

    The total number of downloads required for paid games is less than 10% of that required for free games, to reach the overall top 25 games list.

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    The most competitive sub-categories in paid games are Arcade, Action and Adventure. Like the free games, the least competitive categories are dice, music and trivia.

    With the growth in App Store app downloads, there are many new opportunities for app developers to expand their app portfolios, both in games and non gaming apps.


    Data Sources:
    1. www.distimo.com/blog/2012_05_quora-answering-series-download-volume-needed-to-hit-top-25-per-category
    2. appfigures.com Top lists of applications
    3. www.thinkgaming.com/app-sales-data Revenue estimates for games
    4. www.statista.com/statistics/263794/number-of-downloads-from-the-apple-app-store Total App Store market estimate
    5. Model from paper “INFERRING APP DEMAND FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DATA”. Estimation of daily downloads and rescaling the Pareto scale parameter they derived as market has grown since the paper was written.

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    Elaine Heney is the CEO of Chocolate Lab Apps, #1 Bestselling Author of "The App Escape Plan". Elaine has over 200 apps published with over 3 million downloads, 5 online App Development Courses, and mentors international mobile startups.

    { 1 comment… add one }

    1. 1 Elaine Heney January 24, 2014, 8:48 am

      So – has anyone used this info yet in your market research? Any successes you’d like to share? :)

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