How many apps did you use today? Take a moment to think about it. From checking the weather to catching up on news, from staying connected with friends to ordering food, our lives have become intertwined with the world of mobile applications. These tiny programs residing on our smartphones have transformed the way we live, work, and make money.
Welcome to the world where apps rule, and entrepreneurs dream big. In today’s blog post, we will explore the tantalizing question: What types of apps make the most money? Whether you’re a business owner looking to expand your digital presence, or an entrepreneur exploring the app economy, this article will serve as your compass in the vast sea of mobile applications.
According to the State of Mobile 2023 report, the top three categories of mobile apps (Netflix, TikTok Wall Picture, Samsung Smart Switch Mobile) accounted for 50% of the time spent by users.
Over-the-top (OTT) apps, such as video streaming platforms, were both the most downloaded and the highest in consumer spending in 2022. They represented 16% in-app subscription spending and 4% of total downloads.
Mobile web browsers accounted for only 8% of the time users spent on their devices, indicating that apps have a stronger hold on user attention and engagement.
On average, people spent over 5 hours per day on mobile apps in 2022, which was a 9% increase from 2020.
The mobile app industry has witnessed explosive growth over the past decade, with millions of apps flooding the app stores and billions of dollars changing hands. But amidst this bustling marketplace, certain app categories have emerged as veritable goldmines. In our quest to find out what types of apps make the most money, we will uncover the secrets behind their success, dissect the revenue models that power them, and provide you with valuable insights to guide your own app-based endeavors.
So, whether you’re captivated by the potential for financial success or fascinated by the transformative impact of apps on society, join us as we delve into the realm of profitable apps. Get ready to discover the app genres that are reaping the greatest rewards, and the apps that make the most money.
1. Entertainment apps
Entertainment apps have emerged as one of the most lucrative categories in the app market, captivating millions of users worldwide and generating substantial revenue. In an increasingly digital world, people are seeking immersive and enjoyable experiences right at their fingertips.
Entertainment apps provide a convenient platform for users to consume a wide range of content, from movies and TV shows to music and more. These apps tap into the innate human desire for entertainment, escapism, and social interaction, making them highly engaging and addictive.
Entertainment apps that made the most money need no introduction. However, let’s take a look at what made these apps so popular and successful.
Netflix generated $31.6 billion revenue in 2022.
Netflix revolutionized streaming with a vast library of movies and TV shows, personalized recommendations, and a seamless user experience. Operating on a subscription-based model, Netflix offers ad-free access to content through various subscription plans.
Amazon earned $31.77 billion worldwide from subscription services (Prime included) in 2021.
Amazon Prime offers a comprehensive entertainment experience with its vast collection of movies, TV shows, music, and books. The app is part of the Amazon Prime subscription, which provides access to exclusive content, fast shipping, and other benefits.
Disney Plus generated $7.4 billion revenue in 2022, an 42% increase year-on-year.
Disney Plus has become a powerhouse in the streaming world, offering a vast library of beloved movies and TV shows, and has attracted millions of subscribers globally. The app operates on a subscription-based model, providing ad-free streaming of its exclusive content.
Hulu generated approximately $10.7 billion revenue in 2022.
With a combination of current episodes from popular network shows and an extensive library of ondemand content, Hulu appeals to a diverse audience. The app utilizes a subscription-based model with different tiers, including options for ad-supported and ad-free streaming.
HBO (HBO Max)
HBO revenue increased by 27% in 2021 to $7.7 billion, with a large chunk of that coming from HBO Max.
HBO, known for its premium quality programming, expanded its presence in the streaming landscape with HBO Max. The app offers a vast collection of HBO shows, exclusive Max Originals, blockbuster movies, and curated content from various networks. HBO Max operates on a subscription-based model, providing ad-free access to its extensive catalog.
Spotify increased its annual revenue by 21% in 2022 to $12.66 billion. It has tripled its revenue in the past five years.
Spotify transformed music streaming by offering an extensive music library, personalized playlists, and social sharing features. Still primarily an entertainment app, the app follows a freemium model, providing both free and premium subscription options with additional benefits for premium users.
2. Video Sharing apps
Video sharing apps have revolutionized the way we consume and share visual content. Let’s explore some of the most popular options, their revenue models, what makes them appealing to users, and how you can create a similar app.
YouTube has reported more than 30% revenue growth in the past four years. It generated $29.2 billion in 2022.
YouTube is the undisputed king of video sharing platforms, boasting a massive user base and an extensive library of user-generated and professional content. It generates revenue through advertising, sponsored content, and YouTube Premium subscriptions.
TikTok generated an estimated $9.4 billion revenue in 2022, a 100% increase year-on-year.
TikTok captivated millions with its short-form, user-generated videos, fostering a vibrant and interactive community. The app generates revenue through in-app advertising, sponsored content, and brand and influencer partnerships.
Snapchat revenue increased by 12% in 2022 to $4.6 billion.
Snapchat began as a platform for self-disappearing messaging, but it has evolved into a multimedia powerhouse with its Discover feature. Discover showcases content from leading publishers, influencers, and brands, attracting users with its engaging and bite-sized stories.
3. Dating Apps
In 2022, dating apps soared to new heights. Global consumer spending on dating apps surged by 12% year-over-year and a staggering 91% compared to pre-pandemic levels, surpassing $6 billion.
Dating apps have captured the hearts and screens of millions of users worldwide, making them one of the most popular categories in the app market. The allure lies in their ability to connect people, facilitate meaningful connections, and provide a convenient platform to meet potential partners. With the proliferation of smartphones and the increasing acceptance of online dating, these apps have become a cultural phenomenon.
Tinder made $1.6 billion revenue in 2021, a 17% increase on the year prior.
Tinder revolutionized the dating scene with its popular swiping feature, making it easy to find potential matches in your area. It boasts a large user base and a simple, user-friendly interface.
Bumble generated $903.5 million in revenue in 2022, sporting a 19% growth.
Bumble stands out by empowering women to make the first move. It offers a range of features beyond dating, including options for making friends and networking professionally.
OkCupid owner Match Group’s total revenue for the full year 2021 reached $2.983 billion with an increase of 24.76% YoY.
OkCupid focuses on building meaningful connections by using detailed profiles and a sophisticated compatibility matching system. It encourages users to express themselves authentically.
4. Health and Fitness Apps
In the aftermath of the pandemic, health and fitness apps have emerged as the next top grosser, revolutionizing the way we approach our well-being. With an increasing focus on personal health and fitness, these apps have found a significant market and are making a lot of money with apps.
From tracking workouts, counting calories, or accessing expert guidance, health and fitness apps provide us with the tools and motivation to achieve our wellness goals. The global health and fitness app market is projected to reach billions of dollars in revenue, indicating a strong demand for these apps and a vast opportunity for entrepreneurs.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the leading health and fitness apps that are making waves in the industry:
MyFitnessPal generated $171 million in revenue in 2021, a 67% year-on-year increase.
MyFitnessPal is a popular app that helps users track their daily food intake, set personalized goals, and monitor their nutrition. With its vast database of food items and intuitive tracking features, it has gained a loyal user base. The app generates revenue through premium subscriptions, offering additional features and personalized insights to users.
Strava made $167 million revenue in 2021, recording a 60% year-on-year increase
Strava is a social fitness app designed for runners and cyclists, allowing them to track and share their workouts, connect with friends, and participate in challenges. It has gained a strong following due to its interactive community and robust tracking capabilities. Strava offers premium subscriptions that provide advanced analytics and training tools, contributing to its app revenue.
The Headspace app made an estimated $150 million in 2020
Headspace is a meditation and mindfulness app that provides guided meditation sessions and tools for stress reduction and sleep improvement. With a user-friendly interface and a wide range of meditation programs, it has become a go-to app for individuals seeking mental well-being. Headspace operates on a subscription model, offering premium content and features to subscribers.
Peloton made an annual revenue of $3.58 billion in 2022.
Peloton has revolutionized home fitness with its connected exercise bikes and treadmills, bringing the gym experience into the comfort of users’ homes. The app provides live and on-demand workout classes, interactive features, and a sense of community. Peloton generates revenue through its equipment sales and subscription-based model for accessing its workout content.
In March 2022, Calm was the highest-grossing health-related app worldwide, with in-app revenues of more than $7.5 million in the examined markets.
Calm is another popular meditation and relaxation app that helps users reduce stress, improve sleep, and enhance mindfulness. It offers a diverse range of meditation programs, soothing sounds, and sleep stories. Calm operates on a subscription basis, providing access to its premium content and features.
These examples highlight the success of health and fitness apps in generating app revenue and capitalizing on the growing demand for wellness solutions. By offering personalized experiences, expert guidance, and a sense of community, these apps have captured the attention and wallets of users.
For entrepreneurs looking to tap into the health and fitness app market, there are various strategies to consider. Focusing on specific niches such as yoga, nutrition, or specialized training can help you target a specific audience and differentiate your app from the competition. Integrating wearable devices, providing personalized recommendations, and leveraging social features can also enhance user engagement and monetization opportunities.
5. Social Media and Messaging Apps
Social media and messaging apps have not only transformed the way we communicate but have also become significant contributors to the mobile app revenue landscape. Despite being a seemingly saturated market, new apps continue to emerge and make their mark, demonstrating that there is adequate room for innovation and success.
Leading the pack, established social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter continue to dominate the app revenue charts. However, new and rising social media and messaging apps have managed to carve out their own niche and attract a significant user base.
In 2022, the revenue general by Meta Platforms (formerly known as Facebook Inc.) amounted to roughly $116.6 billion.
Facebook, the social media behemoth, continues to dominate the app market with its massive user base and diverse ecosystem. Its robust advertising capabilities and strategic acquisitions have contributed to its status as one of the highest-grossing apps in the world.
In the second quarter of 2022, Twitter’s revenue amounted to over $1.17 billion U.S. dollars.
Twitter, known for its real-time microblogging format, has established itself as a go-to platform for news, trends, and public conversations.
Instagram estimated $51.4 billion revenue in 2022
Instagram has emerged as a powerhouse in the world of visual content and influencer marketing. Instagram’s strong user engagement and visual-centric approach have solidified its position as a top revenue-generating app.
Clubhouse was valued at $4 billion in April 2021, around the time it peaked in usage.
Clubhouse, the audio-based social networking app, made waves with its innovative concept of live conversations and exclusive celebrity interactions. It showcased the potential for audio-based social apps to capture users’ attention and create unique interactive experiences. While Clubhouse faced challenges like limited availability on iOS devices and its invitation-only approach that impacted its long-term success, its initial popularity serves as a testament to the appeal of making money with audio-based social media apps.
The messenger Telegram recorded a revenue of over $1.6 million from in-app purchases worldwide in January 2023
Telegram is another notable messaging app that has gained a significant user base and made its mark in the app market. Known for its focus on security, speed, and user privacy, Telegram offers a range of features that appeal to a wide audience.
These examples highlight the ever-evolving landscape of social media and messaging apps, and their capacity to earn impressive app revenue despite competition and saturation. As the app economy continues to flourish, social media and messaging apps remain a driving force in generating app revenue and helping entrepreneurs make money with apps.
Claims of app economy slowing down, peaking out, saturating, or downright dying, are markedly exaggerated. Truth remains that new apps are being launched every day and well-executed app ideas are consistently making money, becoming sustainable high-value businesses. While every good app stands to make it’s share of money in the flourishing app economy, some app categories are consistently in high demand, such as entertainment apps, social media and video sharing apps, fitness apps and even dating apps. As long as you are willing to do your research and put in the work, mobile apps will earn revenues and grow globally.
If that has inspired you to finally hit the road with your ideas, get in touch with us and we’ll help you plan the perfect app development strategy for your soon to be mega-successful business.