The 20 Most Popular Apps of 2021

Thinking about creating an app for your business? First, take a look at the most popular apps worldwide to discover what smartphone users love.

The mobile app industry grows stronger every year, with the number of apps downloaded around the globe increasing from 140.7 billion in 2016 to 218 billion in 2020

This number has assuredly grown in 2021, as access to high-powered smartphones improves internationally. Currently, the average person uses nine mobile apps per day while having 80 stored on their device

Although several apps have dominated their categories for years, fresh options are constantly emerging to huge success. With innovative features and slick marketing, the status quo is rarely set in stone for long.


TikTok’s remarkable global success continues to go from strength to strength. This remarkable success also helps Tiktok Advertisers to run successful ads.

With the beloved app downloaded more than 2 billion times since it launched in 2016, users love its addictive combination of music, video, community and online viral trends. As TikTok is shaping the future of social media, start exploring this popular app today if you’ve ignored it so far.

tik tok
Image credit: Google Play/ Tik Tok


Facebook is another social media giant that continues to lead the industry. Although the platform still receives billions of views from desktop users, research has found that around 80% of global users have only ever used a mobile device to access Facebook.

This mind-blowing statistic proves how the Facebook app has struck the perfect balance between interactivity, useability and features.

Image credit: Google Play/ Facebook


With most smartphones featuring incredibly high-quality cameras, it only makes sense for people to want somewhere to share their images.

For millions of people, this platform is Instagram due to its unmatched simplicity, community building and visual nature. Meanwhile, this wildly popular app is a go-to platform for businesses looking to engage their customers on social media.

Image credit: Google Play/ Instagram


In the early days, Snapchat was designed for private, person-to-person image sharing. But it has undergone a raft of changes over the years to keep users engaged, with features like videos, live chat, messaging and the Discover tab taking interactivity to new heights.

The updates have clearly worked, as Snapchat is one of the top apps used today with 280 million daily active users.

Image credit: Google Play/ Snapchat

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is the preferred platform for an estimated 1.3 billion people seeking seamless communication with friends and family. Plus, it’s great for businesses looking to improve communication with their customers via their Facebook Business Page.

Alongside top-notch video chats, phone calls, gifs and stickers, Facebook Messenger remains one of the most popular apps – year in, year out.

facebook messanger
Image credit: Google Play/ Facebook Messanger


Alongside Instagram, WhatsApp is another Facebook-owned app that reaches the pinnacle of global downloads every year with around 600 million downloads, making it one of the most popular apps in 2020.

As the instant messaging app of choice for users based in the vast majority of countries on earth, a staggering 1.6 billion monthly active users utilise the app’s free texting, group chats, voice messages, location-sharing and more. 

Image credit: Google Play/ WhatsApp


You won’t be surprised to learn that the pandemic caused a big shakeup in our daily lives. One of the big winners in the mobile app industry was Zoom.

The easy-to-use video conferencing tool generated 38 million downloads in January 2021 alone, with its brand name quickly becoming synonymous with video chatting with friends and colleagues online.

zoom cloud
Image credit: Google Play/ Zoom

Google Meet

While Zoom has been the dominant video conferencing app over the last couple of years, it’s not the only example on the marketplace attracting millions of downloads.

Google Meet is another hugely successful alternative that offers several standout advantages over Zoom, including much-improved security controls, data encryption and seamless functionality between desktop and mobile versions.

Google meet
Image credit: Google Play/ Google Meets


Netflix is a household name for on-demand streaming. But it’s solidified itself as one of the world’s most popular apps since people spent more time indoors due to the pandemic.

With an estimated 220 million downloads globally in 2020, users also watched approximately 6 billion hours of Netflix per month. At home or on the move, Netflix’s slick interface makes it effortless for users to browse the massive content library.

Image credit: Google Play/ Netflix

Amazon Prime

Now that people have access to super-fast and affordable mobile data, mobile streaming services have surged in popularity. Alongside Netflix and YouTube, Amazon Prime is another top used app, with the mobile app receiving 130 million downloads in 2020 alone.

With consumers looking for more content to consume, services that can attract movies and TV shows that people love to watch are bound to succeed. 

prime video
Image credit: Google Play/ Amazon Prime


It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love Disney movies. So when the mass media company launched their subscription-based app in 2019, it caused a huge stir amongst Disney fans.

With the streamlined Disney+ app downloaded 102 million times in 2020, many industry experts predict it will soon overtake Amazon Prime as the second most popular app for on-demand streaming. 

disney plus
Image credit: Google Play/ Disney Plus


YouTube is so popular around the globe it barely needs an introduction. While other video-sharing platforms cater to niche audiences, it’s safe to say that YouTube has cornered the mainstream market.

As the second-most visited website on the internet, users love to engage with their favourite creators and discover fresh content using the app on the move. We also shared a list of 15 Extremely Successful Australian YouTubers Who Sizzle, if you want to check.

Image credit: Google Play/ Youtube


While Duolingo has been the top language-learning app for years, it reached new heights in March 2020, with a flood of new users increasing monthly traffic by 101%.

As millions of people sought out educational and productive ways to spend their time during the pandemic, the platform has become one of the trending apps for levelling up your everyday productivity.

Image credit: Google Play/ Duolingo


Over the last decade, ride-sharing services have risen to become one of the key services we use in our daily lives. Carving out an entire new market with its rise, Uber was the first to reach global domination.

With the company’s app providing smooth communication, real-time tracking and convenient payments, it’s no surprise Uber remains a hugely popular mobile app.

Image credit: Google Play/ Uber


As everyday people become more privacy-conscious online, Telegram has become the leading secure messaging platform.

Featuring end-to-end encrypted video calling, VoIP, file sharing, group-based chats and more, Telegram surpassed over a billion downloads in August 2021 – becoming only the 15th app to achieve this remarkable goal.

As consumers become more aware of Big Tech, expect security-focused alternatives to become increasingly relevant.

Image credit: Google Play/ Telegram


Like Telegram, Signal also experienced an enormous boost in its user base when privacy concerns came to public attention. No-one likes the thought of their messaging apps listening in on them!

With tech billionaire Elon Musk and NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden endorsing Signal, the app received over 50 million downloads within 10 days. Featuring self-destructing messages and end-to-end encryption, Signal’s growth sets the tone for the future.

signal messenger
Image credit: Google Play/ Signal

Amazon Shopping

Online shopping is only becoming more accessible to consumers. And there’s no-one bigger in the space than Amazon.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon Shopping is one of the top used e-commerce apps worldwide, attracting 169 million downloads in 2020. Providing customers with a straightforward way to shop, compare prices and read reviews, this popular mobile app sets a stellar example for budding e-commerce brands.

Amazon shopping
Image credit: Google Play/ Amazon Shopping


CapCut was the most downloaded app worldwide in May 2021, with the all-in-one video editing app making it incredibly easy to stitch together an awesome piece of content.

Created by ByteDance – the owners of TikTok – users have a wonderfully intuitive interface that makes video editing a breeze. Alongside tools for transitions, stickers, filters, music and more, CapCut is a trending app with a big future.

Image credit: Google Play/ CapCut


There’s no need to download individual songs or albums, when Spotify makes it simple to have all the music you could ever need in one single app.

While Apple Music and YouTube Music have made ground on the Swedish app, Spotify remains the industry giant. In 2020, the app attracted 211 million downloads, making it hard to imagine anyone catching the audio streaming service for the foreseeable future.

Image credit: Google Play/ Spotify


Launched in 2016, Piccoma is the preferred way for consumers to get their hands on the latest Japanese manga – or digital comics to the rest of the world.

As the number one most downloaded app in Japan and ranked 12th for global downloads in 2020, the rising international popularity of this media format has spurred on Piccoma’s impressive growth.

Image credit: Piccoma App

Chat to the Experts

Once you’ve finished checking out the latest popular apps making waves today, start levelling up your company’s digital marketing standards. 

First Page Australia can design a highly effective campaign that achieves your objectives. Having partnered with thousands of companies both in Australia and around the world, we can reach any audience no matter how niche. 

Get in touch today to find out how we’ll get to know your business and deliver a digital marketing strategy that performs above and beyond your expectations.