Market Data

Snapchat and imo Shake Up the Most Popular Communication Apps

Lexi Sydow

Worldwide App Annie Index for Apps May 2016

App Annie is the industry standard for professionals looking to track the app economy and benchmark performance against leading apps and publishers. Each month, the App Annie Index highlights the top-performing games and apps for the iOS App Store and Google Play. Our analysis covers trends among the leading apps across countries and categories.

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This Month’s Top Apps

Snapchat Graduates to Older Users

Top Apps iOS Worldwide Snapchat May 2016

Snapchat is more popular than ever, topping the iOS downloads chart for the first time in a monthly index. While the app grew globally, the largest growth in downloads from a single country came from its country of origin: the United States. As of May 2016 in the US, it was #6 by monthly active users (MAU) in overall iPhone apps. Considering the gridlock of Facebook and Apple’s apps at the top, this is beyond impressive and puts Snapchat at the heels of the largest communication-based apps in the US.

Top Apps Monthly Active Users MAUs iPhone United States May 2016 Snapchat

Snapchat closes in on Instagram by MAU in May 2016. Its concentration of younger users offers opportunities for growth among older demographics.

Snapchat grew across the board in all user segments aged 13–24, 25–44 and over 45 years old on iPhone in the past year, but the most growth occurred in the 25–44 age bracket. While 13–24 year-old users are still 2.4 times more likely than the overall population to use the app, this growth in the older age brackets indicates the app’s evolution into a mainstream communication app.

The app’s June redesign to the Discover feature could help with its publisher monetization plan. Repositioning Discover content alongside stories and replacing company logos with a relevant picture, headline and caption may help entice more views. With such an engaged and growing user base, it is no wonder Snapchat’s advertising real estate is drawing attention from major publishers and brands. We look forward to seeing how this redesign plays out for publishers in the months to come.

A New Entrant Emerges in the Top Communication Apps: imo

Top Apps Google Play Worldwide May 2016 imo

imo debuted at #9 in the top downloaded apps on Google Play, joining the ranks of Social and Communication giants Facebook, WhatsApp Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Snapchat. Launched in 2011, this is the first month it broke into either the iOS App Store or the Google Play worldwide top downloads charts.

The app’s download growth was global in nature, but the largest surge of month-over-month downloads came from Brazil and India. Brazil’s ruling to ban WhatsApp for 72 hours in May may have helped account for the spike in downloads of imo in the days that followed as users looked for substitutes to the most popular messaging app in the country. We’re interested to see how monthly usage figures respond in June — specifically, if users revert back to WhatsApp or if they continue using imo.

imo Download Ranks Brazil Temporary WeChat Ban

imo shot up the download ranks on May 2, 2016 in Brazil during the temporary ban of WhatsApp and retained that lead for just under two weeks.

Game of Thrones Gives HBO NOW a Boost in Revenue

HBO NOW saw revenue success across both Google Play and the iOS App Store during the month of May, rising to #4 on iOS and #7 on Google Play. Going into May, HBO NOW’s 30-day retention rate was nearly double the average for Entertainment apps on Android phon.

HBO NOW’s strong retention rate for apps downloaded in April and its rise up the revenue ranks could be partly attributed to the 6th season of Game of Thrones premiering on April 24. With new episodes continuing each week through June, it is likely we will see continued high retention rates and revenue generation from its subscription model.

HBO Now Netflix iOS Applications Top Apps Worldwide May 2016

¹The average 30-day retention rate for Entertainment apps on Android Phone in April 2016 was calculated as the average of the retention rates for the top 200 apps by MAU within the Entertainment category.

Exclusive content is a tactic used widely by other top music and video streaming apps. On the combined Google Play and iOS chart Netflix emerged as the leader in revenue for video streaming apps supported by its original programming and extensive content library. Upping the ante on its content offerings, the company has announced its first original programming for India as well as its expansion of Disney movies, moves that are likely to increase its global presence and active user base.

In the past year, we’ve been closely following the rapid rise of video streaming apps up the charts fueled by the success of subscription models. Given the recent changes to subscriptions in the App Store, video streaming apps stand to gain even more going forward. These changes include an increase from 70% to 85% in revenue paid to developers after a user’s first year of an in-app subscription along with flexibility among territory-specific prices. We’ll be monitoring how these changes impact revenue for video streaming apps and other subscription-modeled apps in the months to come.

The Technology Behind the Index

The information contained in this report is compiled from App Annie Intelligence, the leading market data solution for the app store economy. To see how our app store download, revenue, demographic and usage estimates can help guide your critical business decisions, request a demo today.

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May Top Apps Publishers Companies iOS Google Play Worldwide May 2016

For the complete list of May’s top apps and app publishers around the world, click the chart above.


  • The publisher and app rankings reported in the App Annie Index are based on the download and revenue estimates available through App Annie Intelligence. The daily rank history charts and the homepage feature app data are available to all users through App Annie’s app tracker solution, Store Stats.
  • App Annie Intelligence is currently available for the iOS App Store and Google Play. It does not currently provide estimates for other app stores, such as the Amazon Appstore. While iOS and Google Play represent a significant portion of the app market in many countries, that is not the case for some countries. For example, China has a number of sizable third-party Android app stores.
  • While the Index for Games covers games, the Index for Apps provides app tracking on everything but games. Note that the Top Company rankings in the Index for Games are based solely on the publisher’s games downloads and revenue, while the Top Company rankings in the Index for Apps are based on the company’s downloads and revenue from apps excluding games.
  • Company and unified app rankings in the App Annie Index for Games and Index for Apps are based on individual apps that ranked in the Top 1,000.
  • Download rankings are based on individually downloaded apps and exclude downloads of app bundles. Revenue rankings are based on download revenue from individually downloaded paid apps as well as in-app purchase revenue from both individually downloaded apps and app bundles.
  • In the first month in which an app becomes unified, its rank change in the Index will compare the unified app that month vs. its highest-ranking individual app in the month prior. As a result, rank changes for newly unified apps may overstate ranking increases from April 2016 to May 2016.
  • In the iOS App Store, an app can be categorized under a Primary Category as well as an optional Secondary Category. If an app has a Primary Category of Games and a Secondary Category of Entertainment, it is a candidate to be included in this Index for Games. If the app’s Primary Category is Entertainment and its Secondary Category is Games, then it will not be included in this Index for Games; it is a candidate for the Index for Apps.
  • Note that the ranking approach used in the App Annie Index differs from that used in the iOS App Store. In the latter, app rankings for a given category will include all apps whose Primary Category or Secondary Category matches that given category. So an app can appear in the rankings for more than one category within the iOS App Store or in App Annie Store Stats rankings.
  • In Google Play, an app can be categorized under only one category, so there is no double-categorization.
  • Occasionally, a publisher may decide to shift an existing app from one category to another category. In these cases, the App Annie Index will rank that app based on its categorization in the subsequent month. Given that the App Annie Index has a Games report and an Apps report, the only scenario where an app’s recategorization could shift it from one Index to another is if its category changes from Games to a category other than Games or vice versa.
  • In the App Annie Index, all apps and publishers are reported under their parent companies, where available; for example, the Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 app is reported under its parent company Electronic Arts, rather than its direct publisher PopCap. Note that if you view the Electronic Arts parent company page on Store Stats, you will see the publishers that roll under the parent company Electronic Arts, including PopCap. The Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 app will be listed under the PopCap publisher page.
  • Company and app rankings are based on the App Annie DNA relationships at the time of publications. App Annie DNA relationships are subject to change over time.
  • App Annie Usage Intelligence data for smartphones and tablets were derived from mobile usage data collected from a large sample of real-world users, combined with additional proprietary data sets.
  • App Annie tracks usage at the device level using a privacy-protective hashed device ID. Data is only reported to third parties in aggregated format.
  • App Annie Index revenue rankings are based on revenue that the iOS App Store and Google Play earned from paid downloads and in-app purchases. They do not include revenue earned from in-app advertising.
  • Certain trademarks and/or images used in this report may belong to third parties and are the property of their respective owners. App Annie claims no rights to such trademarks or images.

June 22, 2016

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