The goal of this report is to track what apps have achieved the highest growth in 2017 in order identify the biggest and most promising trends in the app market.

We have imposed certain criteria for spotting the current and future trends:

  • The apps must have gained considerable recognition and popularity within 2 years only, and demonstrated an upward historical trend
  • They must have reached a peak position in 2017, both in their respective app category and overall rankings

In this way, we excluded apps that have already been popular before 2015 and the apps that have experienced swinging popularity. We took into consideration only fairly new apps, not giants like Facebook or Snapchat that has been around for a few years now. Because these apps have been popular for so long, they cannot give any implications about the trends that are likely to shape the future of the app market. The criteria above helped us also exclude apps that might have a high position in a specific app category, but stand very low in the overall rankings.

For data collection and app insights, we have mainly used mobile market intelligence tools, such as Apptopia, AppAnnie and SensorTower. For unification purposes, all rank histories presented in this report were retrieved from AppAnnie.

what is App Annie

We have identified trends in the US market, analyzing data from the App Store rankings. Please note that the mobile markets are vastly different depending on the world regions and trends might differ across countries. As for the platforms, one can say that the same trends can be tracked both in the App Store and Google Play, unless a certain app is released only for iOS.

Many of the apps that you will find in this report have gradually increased their growth over time, climbing their way to the top charts. However, there is plenty of apps that have unexpectedly hit the rankings in 2017. In this report, we will not only explore what apps are trending in 2017, but also try to identify why certain apps have become – and becoming – so popular.

CATEGORY: SOCIAL NETWORKING

tbh ranking for all time

TBH historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: TBH

Milestones:

The initial version was released in the App Store in August 2017.

Reached #1 in the App Store (USA-overall) on September 12, 2017.

Acquired by Facebook on October 16, 2017.

sarahah app ranking all time

Sarahah historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Sarahah

Milestones:

The initial version was released in the AppStore on June 13, 2017.

Since its launch, it has reached number one in the App Store in 90 countries (the overall ranking).

polly app alltime

Polly historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Polly

Milestones:

The initial version was released in the App Store on August 16, 2017.

Why trending:

TBH, Sarahah and Polly are the new hype that spreads like wildfire among social media-addicted teens. These honesty apps allow users to ask questions and receive anonymous answers from their friends and/or random people. The apps can differ in the degree of freedom of submitting comments: Sarahah allows users to leave any anonymous comment, TBH allows users to only answer questions the app asks (100% controlled by the developer), and Polly has recommended polls that range from “What’s my spirit animal?” to “What is something I’m really good at?”, but you can also create your own polls. The apps give the users custom links that direct their friends to anonymously answer the questions. These links can be shared via Instagram and Snapchat, which turned out to be a very powerful distribution tool.

houseparty app ranking

Houseparty historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Houseparty

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on January 13, 2016. Now Houseparty has more than 1 million daily active users. It is currently in the top 200 in the Apple’s US App Store and continues to grow.

Why trending:

Houseparty is a mobile app for live video chatting. What makes it different from Facetime or Skype is the ability to chat with up to eight people in a room and have several “parties” going at once. It’s like a video version of a chatroom, and teens are going crazy for it.

Overall, House Party seems to be a fun way for teens to connect with friends when they can’t be in the same physical location. The app is very practical – it simplifies tasks such as working on a school project together or figuring out some weekend plans in a group. The notifications keep informing users if their friends are having a chat. It definitely has an addictive quality due to “FOMO” (fear of missing out).

Houseparty has been so incredibly popular with teenagers that even Facebook got interested in exploring the potential of group video chats. Earlier this year, it sent out a survey asking teens for their thoughts on why they enjoy using apps such as Houseparty. Recently, it has been discovered that Facebook works on a new app, called “Bonfire” that can be described as “essentially a clone of Houseparty”. Bonfire has sprung up on the Danish iOS App Store, suggesting the social media giant is slowly rolling it out to customers.

CATEGORY: SHOPPING

letgo overall rating

Letgo historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: letgo: Buy & Sell Secondhand

Milestones:

The initial version was released in AppStore: May 10, 2015. Since then the app grew by 1,085%.

offerup ranking all time

OfferUp historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: OfferUp – Buy. Sell. Simple.

Milestones:

The initial version was released in the App Store on October 19, 2011, but it has experienced a considerable growth since 2015. This mobile marketplace for buying and selling is the second fastest-growing app in the US: It grew 1,213% over the last two years.

Why trending:

LetGo and OfferUp are community marketplace apps which means they have common people as its buyers and sellers. Used, second hand or pre-owned products are the mainstays in LetGo and OfferUp. What differs LetGo and OfferUp from marketplaces such as eBay is that they are more local and mobile-only. Mobile apps tend to have a large loyal user base and LetGo and OfferUp are a great example. Their users spend around 25 minutes on a day on the app on average, which is the same statistics as for Snapchat and Instagram. All the time spent on the app means OfferUp and LetGo are growing faster than eBay in the earliest years.

pennfinder app ranking all time

Penny Finder historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Penny Finder

Category: Shopping

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on June 22, 2017. Ever since it holds the #1 position in the Shopping apps category.

Why trending:

The app helps you find items from Dollar General that round up to a penny. This is specific to the US market, where extreme couponing, and searching for deals and discounts have become a popular practice in America. In general, money-saving and coupon apps seem to thrive in the App Store, as today’s debt-ridden society searches for ways to save money.

CATEGORY: FINANCE

venmo ranking all time

Venmo historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Venmo

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on April 3, 2010. Ranked #1 in the App Store in Finance apps category on August 29, 2016. It is also sustainably growing in the overall ranking, being placed within top 50 apps in 2017.

cashapp ranking all time

Cash App historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Cash App

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on October 15, 2013. Ranked #1 in Finance apps on August 21, 2017. Venmo has grown 677% in two years, reaching top 50 apps in September 2017.

Why trending:

These so-called peer-to-peer, or p2p payment systems are a medium of exchange with revolutionary potential. The Square Cash and Venmo apps let you pay or request money from others via name or mobile phone number. These mobile apps make splitting checks, paying friends back, and lending money to family members as easy as tapping your finger. Not only is it super simple, quick and reliable to use, but it’s got a social aspect to it. For example, Venmo allows users to check out their friends’ activities, or send fun messages or emojis with their payments.

robinhood app all time ranking

Robinhood historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Robinhood

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on December 11, 2014. Zero-fee stock-trading app Robinhood has joined the unicorn club in 2017. That’s due to reaching 2 million total users, and 17 percent month-over-month growth of its revenue-driving Robinhood Gold subscription product.

Why trending:

Robinhood’s selling point is that it allows for quick buying and selling of stocks—for now, only U.S. stocks on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq—with no commission per trade and no minimum balance required. Robinhood quickly became a favourite among younger people looking to invest without paying $7-10$ per trade. The app itself is stylish and simple, a big part of why it won an Apple Design Award. It makes stock trading cheap, intuitive, and mobile. The ease of use is what attracts young, mobile-obsessed millennials. The average age of Robinhood users is just 26!

 CATEGORY: LIFESTYLE

bumble app all time ranking

Bumble historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Bumble – Meet New People

Milestones:

The initial version was released in the App Store on November 19, 2017. Bumble is the fastest growing top #dating app in terms of daily active users and has been #2 in Lifestyle. While Tinder holds the title of the most popular dating app, Bumble’s users are spending more time on the app than Tinder’s users did when the company was two years old.

Why trending:

Instead of waiting for your match to make the first move, Bumble makes it mandatory for women to initiate conversation after matching, giving them only a 24-hour window as an incentive. The app seems to solve some issues that other dating apps – like Tinder – experience. The most annoying part about dating apps is breaking the ice, and usually women expect men to make the first move. Bumble turns the table: women are prompted to start the conversation. A limited time span also helps to progress the action from matching to actually talking.

Dating apps, in general, experience growing popularity, as more and more people turn to online channels to connect with other people and find a potential love match.

CATEGORY: AR

stack ar all time ranking

StackAR historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Stack AR

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on September 18, 2017. The same month, it has hit #1 in the Games category and top 10 apps in the overall rankings.

human anatomy ar all time ranking

Human Anatomy Atlas 2018 historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Human Anatomy

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on July 27, 2016. Its rankings were not impressive until August 2017, when the app changed the price from 24.99 to 0.99 USD and soon introduced AR features. Since then, the app has been holding #1 in the Medical category (August – October 2017) and very high position in the overall ranking.

Why trending:

Augmented reality is one of the most promising digital technologies at present. Pokémon Go or Snapchat has already shown that leveraging the AR technology in the right way, drives incredible user growth around the app.  The interest of AR is rising, and with the recently introduced ARKit and ArCore, the AR trend will soon penetrate the mobile industry. AR technology can enhance a variety of projects: games (also tabletop), educational apps, city guide apps, and so on.

CATEGORY: BOOKS

yarn app all time history ranking

Yarn historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Yarn – Chat Fiction

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on February 9, 2017. Since March, the app is in the top 3 in the Books category and holds a very high position in the overall ranking.

hooked app all time ranking

Hooked historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Hooked – Chat Stories

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on August 22, 2015. In 2017, reached #1 in the App Store (the overall ranking).

Why trending:

Chat fiction apps are digital book alternatives, which are presented as text messages. The idea is that the texting format is more relatable for teenagers who have been communicating this way since they were children. Apps such as Yarn or Hooked have been dominating the app charts for the past few months. These apps present stories as a mobile-first experience. Every Yarn story is told as if you were watching someone else’s text messages, while Hooked users have to keep scrolling to find out what happens next.

CATEGORY: HEALTH AND FITNESS

weightloss fitness app all time history raning

Weight Loss Fitness historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Weight Loss Fitness

Milestones: The initial version was released in the AppStore on March 24, 2017. Currently, it holds a high position within top 10 fitness apps.

sweatcoin app all time history rankings

Sweatcoin historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Sweatcoin – Get Fit and Active

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on May 5, 2016. Ranks #1 Fitness app in the App Store and very high position in the overall ranking (top 100 apps).

calm app all time history ranking

Calm historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Calm: Meditation

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on February 22, 2013. It took off in 2017, ranking #3 Health and Fitness app. Currently also holding a very high overall position (top 200 apps).

Why trending:

Fitness, yoga, meditation, mindfulness – their popularity has surged in 2017. Gyms and fitness centers are proliferating, so does the practice of meditation. People want to relax, unwind and keep healthy and fit, but some of them prefer to do it at home, without attending formal classes. And since it’s such a trendy market, the culture of wellness inhabited mobile apps too.  Users can be guided through their practice of fitness, yoga, meditation or mindfulness. The apps teach useful skills and claim to help reduce stress, improve sleep, boost energy and so on.

CATEGORY: EDUCATION

remind app history ranking

Remind historical rankings for all time.

Name of the app: Remind

Milestones: The initial version was released in the App Store on May 3, 2012. In August 2017, it was #1 app in the overall ranking.

Why trending:

Remind is a K-12 communication platform that helps educators reach students and parents, by connecting the school community with fast, effective messages. Remind allows teachers to message a class, a person, or just a small group. They can also share photos, handouts, and other files. Since kids and teenagers spend so much time on smartphones, Remind app is a great way to keep in touch with pupils and communicate more effectively. It’s a great proof that by giving value and solving real-life issues, any app is bound for success.

Author: Ewelina Łuszczek