All the way back in 2009 Apple launched a commercial which coined the phrase ‘there’s an app for that’ and now, over a decade later, we’re firmly in the era of there being multiple apps for that.
There are so many in fact, that a lot can change in the app store charts in a matter of months – and as quick as some apps reach the summit of the charts, they can quickly fall out of favour with smartphone users.
So, as we’re already halfway through the year, we decided to take a look at which apps have boomed in the first half of the year, and which are quickly getting forgotten about.
The Most Popular App Types
Before we get to the apps themselves, we wanted to find out which categories are currently the most dominant. Are more people in search of health and fitness apps than they are for shopping apps, or has the rise in cost of living resulted in more of us turning to money management apps?
We analysed Google search data between the tail end of 2021 and now, and found that dating apps ranked far above any other type of app. Be it Hinge, Tinder, Bumble or old favourites such as OKCupid, there was an average of almost half a million monthly searches for dating apps in the first half of the year. Maybe more people are looking to get back out there and meet people after years locked down due to the pandemic?
The rise in interest in trading, especially within the Gen Z and millennial markets, places stocks and shares apps such as eToro, SoFi and Vanguard, as the second most popular app category of the moment.
Elsewhere, the enduring popularity of photo and video sharing apps such as Instagram and TikTok have no doubt influenced the likes of photo editing and video apps being so regularly searched for, while the super-fast processing speeds of devices like the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Google Pixel 6 Pro place gaming apps firmly in the top five. If you’re a fan of gaming, check out our guide on the best gaming phones.
|Rank||App Category||Monthly Google Search Volume (Oct ’21 – Mar ’22)|
2022’s Fastest Growing Apps
So that’s the different kinds of apps that are proving the most popular overall as we reach the halfway point of 2022, but what about individual apps? Looking at a similar timescale of late 2021 to spring ’22 and with the help of app intelligence tool Sensor Tower, we were able to pinpoint which apps had seen the most positive shifts in the app store over this time period, as well as those that have already fallen out of favour.
Starting with those that are booming in 2022, video chat app Lobby is leading the way. Launched midway through 2021, it’s only recently that the app, which enables groups of friends to hangout while gaming, watching videos or listening to music together, has moved out of the App Store wilderness and seen the greatest amount of growth in chart rankings.
Interestingly, the entire top three is made up of modern, more intimate forms of social networking, with first place app Lobby followed by two photo sharing apps. LiveIn provides a much more personal way to share photos than the likes of Snapchat and Instagram, with users being able to share photos directly to a select group of friends or family’s home screens. BeReal, on the other hand, is the latest social media phenomenon to be taking the world by storm. Launched back in 2020, it’s now in 2022 that the app is making headlines, with it aiming to go against the grain of the often hyper-edited world of Instagram, and require users to share an image a day of their ‘real’ lives.
Elsewhere, the prominence of mobile gaming is easily evident, with multiple games being some of the fastest growing apps of the year, including both the 2021 and most recent 2022 iterations of the Football Manager games.
With COVID restrictions easing around the world, travel apps are also seeing a resurgence, with the Jet2Holidays, easyJet and Ryanair apps all being some of the fastest growing so far this year.
|Rank||App||Free/Paid?||Increase in App Store Chart Position (Oct ’21 – Apr ’22)|
|4||Deliver It 3D||Free||997|
|7||Football Manager 2022 Mobile||£8.99||994|
|8||Fill The Fridge!||Free||991|
|12||Football Manager 2021 Mobile||£8.99||983|
|16||Tall Man Run||Free||973|
|17||Total War: MEDIEVAL II||£12.99||971|
|18||Baby Led Weaning Recipes||£4.99||968|
|19||Warblr: Identify UK bird songs||£4.49||967|
|20||Little League Rulebook||£1.79||967|
|21||Vrbo Vacation Rentals||Free||965|
|24||Poppy Playtime Chapter 1||£2.49||959|
|26||Arcadia – Arcade Watch Games||£1.79||958|
|27||Super Goal – Soccer Stickman||Free||955|
|28||Coffee Inc 2||£1.79||953|
|29||FILCA – SLR Film Camera||£3.49||952|
|34||Impulse – Brain Training||Free||946|
|35||CSCS Card Test Revision 2022||£5.99||945|
|40||Slay the Spire||£8.99||938|
|43||Fill The Fridge!||Free||936|
|46||PDG PROmote 2021-2023||£25.99||925|
|50||Bacon – The Game||Free||923|
The Most Consistent Apps in 2022
From the hundreds of different apps included in our research, almost all had unsurprisingly shown some sort of increase or decrease in their charting position, however some apps have stayed completely stable with their position in the App Store.
One such app included Minecraft, one of the most lucrative video game franchises of all time, which was also revealed as the most searched for mobile game in the world in our recent Mobile Gaming Report. Driving theory test apps also remained consistent, showing the knock-on effect of the pandemic, with the backlog of driving tests still rolling on.
|App||Free/Paid?||Increase/Decrease in App Store Chart Position (Oct ’21 – Apr ’22)|
|Theory Test 4||£4.99||0|
|Official DVSA Theory Test Kit||£4.99||0|
|Forest – Your Focus Motivation||£3.49||0|
The Apps That Have Lost The Most Ground in 2022
On the other end of the scale, some apps have been quick to fall out of favour with smartphone users. While most are casual and hyper casual games which tend to have an extremely short shelf life and are picked up and then dropped by players in quick succession, the largest drops in popularity do shine a light on some of the big changes the world has seen at the start of the year.
Most notably, there’s yet another signal from our findings that a post-pandemic world is taking shape. The £76 million NHS COVID-19 app has dropped 933 places in the app store charts since the tail end of 2021, while there’s also a hint that the pandemic-inspired home improvement boom is reaching its end. Dropping 923 positions on average between the UK and US, the Construction Master Pro Calculator which is widely used for various renovation projects has lost its popularity – replaced by the spikes in downloads for the travel related apps we mentioned earlier, as people return to enjoying their lives outside of their homes.
|Rank||App||Free/Paid?||Decrease in App Store Chart Position (Oct ’21 – Apr ’22)|
|2||Traffic Cop 3D||Free||-999|
|6||NHS Scotland COVID Status||Free||-991|
|8||Flex Run 3D||Free||-985|
|9||Candy Challenge 3D||Free||-983|
|11||A Theory Test Kit, Hazard Perception and Highway Code App Bundle||Free||-978|
|13||MAD FUT 22 Draft & Pack||Free||-977|
|18||Water Sort Puzzle||Free||-964|
|19||Human Anatomy Atlas 2021||£21.99||-953|
|21||Call of Duty||Free||-950|
|22||Magic Tiles 3||Free||-950|
|24||Carbs & Cals||Free||-949|
|28||Survival Challenge 3D||Free||-939|
|31||Zoom Out 3D!||Free||-931|
|32||Cookie Run: Kingdom||Free||-930|
|33||Bubble Buster 2048||Free||-930|
|35||Fun with Ragdolls||£4.99||-928|
|36||Fidget Toy Maker||Free||-926|
|38||NOAA Weather Radio||Free||-925|
|42||Toca Life: Neighbourhood||Free||-924|
|43||Construction Master Pro Calc||Free||-923|
|44||The Game of Life||£2.49||-923|
|49||Smash Colours 3D 2022||Free||-920|
|50||Combat Master Online||Free||-919|
Feeling you need to get in on the Lobby or BeReal boom, or simply make your travels easier with the right app, but don’t have the handset for it? It might be time to purchase a new mobile! Alternatively, if you’re looking to sell a mobile phone, our mobile phone marketplace can offer industry-beating prices, so find out more now.
To find the app categories that people search for the most, we used Google Keyword Planner to find the average monthly global search volume from various app types (such as ‘dating apps’) between Oct ’21 and March ’22 (the latest available data as of April 2022).
We then analysed data from app intelligence tool Sensor Tower to reveal the apps that have gained in, as well as lost popularity between Oct ’21 and April ’22. This was achieved by taking the top 100 apps from the UK and US app store chart rankings in October 2021, and again in April 2022 (excluding duplicates), then calculating the positive/negative difference in rankings of these apps over the same time period.
All data correct as of April 2022.