App store optimization company Sensor Tower has released it Q4 2015 Data Digest, analyzing app downloads, revenue and monetization on Apple’s App Store. According to the report, Q4 2015 was the biggest quarter ever for the App Store, with 5.5 billion unique downloads and $3.3 billion in revenue generated from Oct. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015.
For this digest, only one download per person was counted. That is, even if a single user downloaded the same app on multiple devices, or deleted and re-downloaded an app, only one download would count. For revenue, Sensor Tower combined the initial purchase price of apps with any revenue generated through in-app purchases.
Measuring data from 84 countries, Sensor Tower found Facebook Messenger and Facebook were the No. 1 and No. 2 most downloaded apps for the quarter, respectively, followed by YouTube, WhatsApp Messenger and Instagram in the top five. In the U.S. specifically, Facebook Messenger, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Smashy Road: Wanted placed in the top five for downloads in Q4 2015.
Meanwhile, the highest grossing app in the U.S. for the quarter was Game of War: Fire Age, followed by Clash of Clans in second place. These games were followed by Candy Crush Saga, Spotify and DoubleDown Casino in the top five.
Breaking down downloads by publisher, Tencent led worldwide downloads, with almost 150 million downloads in Q4. Google and Facebook followed in the top three. However, in terms of U.S. downloads, Google topped the chart, followed by Facebook and Electronic Arts.
Elsewhere, Clash of Clans developer Supercell was found to be the highest grossing publisher in the U.S. for the quarter, followed by Machine Zone, King, Electronic Arts and Spotify in the top five. Apple’s own apps were excluded from Sensor Tower’s top download and revenue charts.
Finally, in terms of overall app categories, games led for both downloads and revenue in Q4. Specifically, in Q4, games had more than double the number of downloads of the second-largest category, entertainment apps, and games earned more than four times the revenue of the other 22 app categories combined.
Oliver Yeh, co-founder of Sensor Tower, told SocialTimes:
While Q4 was an improvement over the previous quarters in 2015 across the board, and games continued to be the biggest contributor in terms of downloads and revenue, we’re starting to see impressive growth in the Entertainment and Photo & Video categories. This has been driven by streaming video services such as Netflix and YouTube, which both grew their user bases and began to earn significant revenue on iOS for the first time last quarter.
Sensor Tower’s complete report is available here.