TikTok has surpassed Instagram and become the world’s top 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, managed to continue to be one of the top-five top downloaded apps worldwide. However, Meta — the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp — retained its dominance in the app market globally, with Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp as the three top downloaded apps worldwide after TikTok.
Sensor Tower reports that no app has had more downloads than TikTok since the start of 2018. Since the beginning of 2022, the app has been downloaded more than 175 million times, according to the report.
TikTok surpassed 70 million downloads on the App Store worldwide for the third time in the first quarter. It was driven by 11 percent quarter-over-quarter growth in Asia. CapCut, a video editing app from TikTok’s publisher ByteDance, also had the last quarter as its best to date with more than 30 million downloads. It has ranked among the top 10 App Store apps each of the past five quarters, Sensor Tower said in its 75-page report.
Alongside the worldwide growth, TikTok has emerged as the top downloaded app on both the App Store and Google Play in the US and on Google Play in Europe. The ban in India also didn’t impact much in Asia as TikTok continued to be the top-downloaded app on the App Store in the region. It also moved to the third top downloaded app position on Google Play from the fourth one in the quarter earlier.
In addition to TikTok, YouTube emerged as one of the top-two apps on the US App Store each quarter since the first quarter of 2021, per the report.
Sensor Tower said that while TikTok has surpassed 10 million downloads each of the past nine quarters, YouTube has overtaken this threshold for eight straight quarters.
But nonetheless, TikTok continued to gain momentum in the US. Sensor Tower noted that it was the top app on Google Play for the third straight quarter, with installs up 19 percent year-on-year in the first quarter.
The ongoing trend of connecting people over virtual calls — despite the revival of physical meetings — has apparently helped Zoom to grow in the market in which entertainment-focussed apps including TikTok and Facebook parent Meta are writing new growth stories.
Sensor Tower said that Zoom had positive quarter-on-quarter growth for the first time in a year by reaching the number six position on Google Play in the US with more than three million downloads. It was the top app on Google Play as recently as the first quarter of 2021, the report said.
Apps including Telegram and WhatsApp have a tough fight in Europe. While WhatsApp managed to take the second position in the list of top downloaded apps in the continent, Telegram also had its second-best quarter in the region in the first quarter of 2022, trailing the nearly 28 million installs it had in the same quarter of 2021, according to Sensor Tower.
WhatsApp was also the top app particularly on the App Store in Europe for the seventh straight quarter in the first quarter. Sensor Tower said that it was also WhatsApp’s best first quarter of the year since 2018.
In Asia, Instagram continued to come as the top app for the third straight quarter in the first quarter, followed by Facebook. Instagram was also the top app in India where it accounted for more than 60 percent of Instagram’s installs in the country, Sensor Tower said.
Instagram was also the top app on Google Play in Asia — ahead of Facebook and Shopee. Sensor Tower noted that the photo-sharing app accounted for 29 percent of Meta’s Google Play installs in Asia in the first quarter, up from 26 percent in the same quarter last year and 18 percent in the same quarter of 2020.
Shopping apps are also seen getting bigger in Asia — at least on Google Play. Sensor Tower said that shopping app installs on Google Play in Asia grew 63 percent year-on-year in the first quarter. Top apps include Shopee, Meesho, and Flipkart’s Shopsy.
In gaming, Garena Free Fire, which got banned by the Indian government in February, was the top app in the first quarter around the world, followed by Subway Surfers, Merge Master, and Roblox. India’s Ludo King also emerged amongst the top-ten top downloaded games worldwide, the report revealed.
On the App Store, Subway Surfers, Wordle, and Coloring Match were the top-three games worldwide in the last quarter. Garena Free Fire, Subway Surfers, and Merge Master were, however, the top-three games worldwide on Google Play.
Wordle — which is named after New York Times’ word game Wordle — was also the top game in the US, with more than nine million downloads. It was also the top game on the App Store in the country and had the top US App Store downloads since Among Us in the fourth quarter of 2020. Wordus and Word Guess were the other two games with Wordle-style gameplay that ranked among the top 20 games in the country, the report mentioned.
However, Sensor Tower said Roblox managed to continue ranking among the top-five games each quarter since the fourth quarter of 2020. In Asia, the list of top-three games in the first quarter was the same as the previous quarter, with Garena Fire Fire leading 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 Garena Free Fire’s 468 million installs edging Ludo King’s 461 million since that time,” Sensor Tower said.
PUBG Mobile also returned to the top-five list in Asia in the last quarter. It took the top spot on the App Store in the continent, with 37 percent quarter-on-quarter growth. However, Garena Free Fire emerged as the top game on Google Play in Asia. Garena Free Fire Max also managed to get more than 60 percent of its Google Play downloads in Asia in the last quarter, whereas the original title took the other 39 percent, the report shows.
In terms of demographics, India has continued to be the largest market for app downloads in the world in the first quarter. It was followed by the US, Brazil, and Indonesia, per the report.
Sensor Tower also noted that Meta emerged as the top publisher across the globe for the first time since the first quarter of 2020. Google and ByteDance were, though, the two other top publishers in the app market globally.
Overall, worldwide downloads of apps grew 1.4 percent in the first quarter to 36.9 billion from the 36.4 billion downloads reported for the first quarter last year. Downloads from the App Store globally increased 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 App Store and Google Play download estimates between January 1 and March 31. Download estimates are on a per-user basis and don’t count re-installs and updates of the same app by the same user. Also, Android app download estimates represent downloads from Google Play only and don’t consider download estimates from third-party Android stores.