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STORE INTELLIGENCE · RANDY NELSON · JANUARY 2019

The Top Mobile Apps, Games, and Publishers of 2018: Sensor Tower's Data Digest

Understand the mobile app economy in Q4 and full year 2018 with Sensor Tower's free Data Digest. Top apps, publishers, and categories for the App Store and Google Play.

Cover of Sensor Tower's Q4 2018 Data Digest

As we've reported today, worldwide app revenue grew 22.7 percent last year to $71.3 billion and new app installs topped 105.3 billion, increasing 11.1 percent over 2017. Our new Store Intelligence Data Digest for Q4 and full year 2018 covers the apps, publishers, categories, and trends that drove the global mobile ecosystem in the past 12 months.

Read on for our full top 10 charts and get our free 2018 Data Digest for download estimates covering the quarter's top 20 apps and publishers, along with the leading categories, publishers, and trends on both stores.

Top Apps by Worldwide Revenue and Downloads

Netflix was once again the world's highest earning app, surpassing $964 million across the App Store and Google Play. While Facebook once again had the top three most installed apps with WhatsApp, Messenger, and its core app, ByteDance moved into the annual top five with its short-video app TikTok ranking No. 4 overall, with more than 667 million first-time downloads.

Chart showing the world's highest grossing iOS and Google Play apps for 2018Chart showing the world's most downloaded iOS and Google Play apps for 2018

Top Mobile Games by Worldwide Revenue and Downloads

Hyper-casual titles dominated the mobile gaming download charts for 2018, led by releases from Voodoo (Helix Jump) and Lion Studios (Love Balls). Meanwhile, the battle royale genre brought hardcore gaming to the forefront, with Tencent's PUBG Mobile and Garena's Free Fire both ranked in the top five overall. Fortnite from Epic Games was the No. 7 highest earning iOS game worldwide, grossing nearly half a billion dollars during the year.

Chart showing the world's highest grossing iOS and Google Play games for 2018Chart showing the world's most downloaded iOS and Google Play games for 2018

Top Mobile Publishers by Worldwide Revenue and Downloads

Chinese mobile gaming giant Tencent was the global leader for overall and games-only revenue while IAC, owner of Tinder, was No. 1 for non-game spending, just ahead of Netflix. Facebook led overall and non-game app downloads, but ByteDance claimed substantial ground on this ranking over 2017 thanks to TikTok. In the games category, Voodoo's hyper-casual dominance placed it at the top of the chart.

Chart showing the world's highest grossing iOS and Google Play publishers for 2018Chart showing the world's most downloaded iOS and Google Play publishers for 2018

Get Our Latest Report

Featuring estimates from our Store Intelligence platform, the report includes:

  • Rankings of Q4 and full year 2018's top apps and publishers on the App Store and Google Play

  • Q4 2018's most popular app categories and their year-over-year growth

  • Insights into the quarter and full year's most important stories and trends

Click below to download the report in PDF format:



Sensor Tower's platform is an enterprise-level offering. Interested in learning more?


Randy Nelson

Written by: Randy Nelson, Head of Mobile Insights

Date: January 2019

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