TikTok overtook Instagram to emerge as the most downloaded app worldwide in Q1 2022: Sensor Tower

TikTok overtook Instagram to emerge as the most downloaded app worldwide in Q1 2022: Sensor Tower

TikTok overtook Instagram to become the world’s most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2022, according to a report by app market intelligence firm Sensor Tower. The short video app, which is banned in India, has managed to remain one of the top five most downloaded apps worldwide. However, Meta – the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – maintained its dominance in the apps market globally, with Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp as the top three most downloaded apps worldwide after TikTok.

Sensor Tower reports that no app has had more downloads than TikTok since early 2018. As of early 2022, the app has been downloaded over 175 million times, according to the report.

global app growth Q1 2022 sensor tower App growth TikTok Apps

TikTok was the world’s top app in the first quarter of 2022
Photo credit: SensorTower

TikTok surpassed 70 million App Store downloads worldwide for the third time in Q1. It was driven by an 11% quarterly growth in Asia. CapCut, the video editing app from TikTok publisher ByteDance, also had its best quarter yet with more than 30 million downloads. It has ranked among the App Store’s top 10 apps in each of the past five quarters, Sensor Tower said in its 75-page report.

Along with worldwide growth, TikTok has emerged as the most downloaded app on the App Store and Google Play in the US and Google Play in Europe. The ban in India didn’t have much of an impact in Asia either, as TikTok continued to be the most downloaded app on the App Store in the region. It also moved to the third most downloaded app position on Google Play from fourth position in the previous quarter.

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However, in the global Google Play, Instagram and Facebook managed to continue to fight TikTok and maintain their leadership in the top two positions.

In addition to TikTok, YouTube has emerged as one of the top two apps on the US App Store each quarter since Q1 2021, according to the report.

Sensor Tower said that while TikTok has surpassed 10 million downloads in each of the past nine quarters, YouTube has surpassed that threshold for eight consecutive quarters.

Even so, TikTok continued to gain traction in the US. Sensor Tower noted that it was the top app on Google Play for the third consecutive quarter, up 19% year-over-year in the first quarter.

The continued trend of connecting people via virtual calls — despite the renaissance of physical meetings — has apparently helped Zoom grow in a market where entertainment-focused apps including TikTok and Facebook parent Meta are writing new growth stories.

Sensor Tower said Zoom had positive quarterly growth for the first time in a year, reaching No. 6 on Google Play in the US with more than three million downloads. It was the top app on Google Play through the first quarter of 2021, the report said.

Apps like Telegram and WhatsApp have a tough fight in Europe. While WhatsApp managed to occupy the second position in the list of the most downloaded applications in the continent, Telegram also had its second best quarter in the region in the first quarter of 2022, behind the almost 28 million installations it had in the same quarter of 2021, according to Sensor Tower.

WhatsApp was also the top app, especially in the App Store in Europe, for the seventh consecutive quarter in Q1. Sensor Tower said it was also WhatsApp’s best Q1 since 2018.

In Asia, Instagram continued to be the top app for the third consecutive quarter in Q1, followed by Facebook. Instagram was also the top app in India, where it accounted for more than 60% of Instagram installs in the country, Sensor Tower said.

Instagram was also the top Google Play app in Asia – ahead of Facebook and Shopee. Sensor Tower noted that the photo-sharing app accounted for 29% of Meta’s Google Play installs in Asia in Q1, up from 26% in the same quarter last year and 18% in the same quarter of 2020.

Shopping apps are also booming in Asia – at least on Google Play. Sensor Tower said shopping app installs on Google Play in Asia grew 63% year-over-year in the first quarter. Top apps include Shopee, Meesho and Flipkart’s Shopsy.

In gaming, Garena Free Fire, which was banned by the Indian government in February, was the most used app in Q1 worldwide, followed by Subway Surfers, Merge Master and Roblox. India’s Ludo King also appeared in the top ten most downloaded games across the world, the report revealed.

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On the App Store, Subway Surfers, Wordle and Coloring Match were the top three games in the world last quarter. Garena Free Fire, Subway Surfers and Merge Master were, however, the top three games in the world on Google Play.

Wordle—named after the New York Times word game Wordle—was also the top-selling game in the United States, with over nine million downloads. It was also the top-selling game on the App Store in the country, and had the highest App Store downloads in the US since Among Us in Q4 2020. Wordus and Word Guess were the other two games featuring Wordle-style gameplay that made the top 20 games in the country, the report mentioned.

However, Sensor Tower said that Roblox has managed to continue ranking in the top five games for each quarter since Q4 2020. In Asia, the list of top three games for Q1 was the same as the previous quarter, with Garena Fire Fire topping the chart, followed by Ludo King and Subway Surfers.

“Garena Free Fire and Ludo King have been in a tight race since the start of 2019, with 468 million installs of Garena Free Fire surpassing Ludo King’s 461 million since then,” said Sensor Tower.

PUBG Mobile also returned to the top five list in Asia last quarter. It took the top spot on the App Store in the mainland with 37% quarterly growth. However, Garena Free Fire has emerged as the top Google Play game in Asia. Garena Free Fire Max also managed more than 60% of its downloads from Google Play in Asia in the last quarter, while the original title took the other 39%, the report shows.

In demographic terms, India continued to be the world’s largest market for app downloads in the first quarter. It was followed by the US, Brazil and Indonesia, according to the report.

india apps india apps

India continued to lead in major app markets across the world in Q1 2022
Photo credit: SensorTower

Sensor Tower also noted that Meta emerged as the top publisher worldwide for the first time since Q1 2020. Google and ByteDance were, however, the top two publishers in the apps market globally.

Overall, worldwide app downloads grew 1.4% in the first quarter to 36.9 billion, from 36.4 billion downloads reported in the first quarter of last year. App Store downloads globally rose to 8.6 billion from 8.4 billion last year, while Google Play downloads reached 28.3 billion from 28 billion, Sensor Tower’s report shows.

The report is based on download estimates from the App Store and Google Play between January 1st and March 31st. Download estimates are per user and do not count reinstalls and updates of the same app by the same user. Additionally, Android app download estimates represent downloads from Google Play only and do not consider download estimates from third-party Android stores.

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