Games Most Popular Mobile App

June 4, 2010

Games are the most popular mobile application with both US smartphone and feature phone users, according to “App Playbook” data from The Nielsen Company.

Smartphone Users Download Apps at Higher Rate
Overall, 14% of mobile phone users have downloaded an application in the past 30 days. Smartphone and feature phone users downloaded same applications in a similar order of frequency, but smartphone users downloaded each type of application at a higher rate.


Games were the most frequently downloaded application by all users, downloaded by 65% of past-30-day smartphone downloaders and 59% of past-30-day feature phone downloaders.

Among smartphone users, the next four most frequently downloaded applications were news/weather (56%), maps/navigation/search (55%), social networking (54%) and music (46%). In contrast, the next four most frequently downloaded applications among feature phone users were music (45%), social networking (36%), news/weather (32%), and maps/navigation/search (30%).

Facebook Leading App on Most Smartphones
Facebook is the most downloaded application on most smartphone operating systems. Facebook leads among users of the iPhone (58%), Blackberry (51%) and all other operating systems (39%). Facebook is the second-most-downloaded application by Android users (50%).


Android users displayed especially high usage of the Google Maps application (67%, most-frequently downloaded Android app). Google Maps was the second-most-downloaded application among users of the Blackberry (34%) and all other (33%).

iPod/iTunes was the second-most-downloaded application by iPhone users (48%), but did not make the top five list of any other smartphone operating system. This most likely results from synergies among the different Apple technologies.

Weather Channel and Pandora were the other two applications which showed up on the top five lists for every operating system. YouTube was ranked number five (19%) among users of all other, but did not make the lists of the other three operating systems. ESPN showed up only on the Blackberry list at number four (19%) and Google Search showed up only on the Android list at number five (26%).

Other Findings

  • 21% of American wireless subscribers had a smartphone in Q4 2009, up from 19% in the previous quarter and significantly higher than the 14% in Q4 2008.
  • Average number of apps: Smartphone: 22, Feature phone: 10.
  • Average number of apps by smartphone platform: BlackBerry: 10, iPhone: 37, Android: 22, Palm: 14, Windows Mobile: 13.
  • Facebook is clearly the overall favorite social networking app, but MySpace is hugely popular among teens and LinkedIn attracts adults 25-44.
  • Amazon and eBay lead shopping apps (57% and 41%, respectively).
  • Search/map apps skew male, especially Instamapper (80/20 male/female distribution).
  • Video/Movie apps skew towards males while Imeem and Moviefone show a higher proportion of young users.
  • Among music apps, iTunes, Pandora and Sirius XM appeal more to males, while Yahoo Music is almost evenly split (51/49 male/female distribution).

Mobile Social Networking Grows Dramatically
The number of US mobile phone users performing social networking grew dramatically between April 2009 and April 2010, according to comScore MobiLens data. While the total number of mobile phone users who accessed an application increased 28%, from 54.4 million to 69.6 million, between April 2009 and April 2010, the number of mobile phone users who accessed a social networking application more than tripled. Social networking led all mobile application categories with 240% growth, as the number of users increased from 4.3 million to 14.5 million.

About the Data: Nielsen recently launched its “App Playbook,” surveying 1,914 feature phone users and 2,351 smartphone users who had downloaded an application in the past 30 days.

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