How Many Downloads Does an App Need to Reach The Top of The Free Charts on iOS?

It’s a question we often get from developers: how many downloads does it take to make it to the top?

App tracking company Distimo has revealed data for top apps on a country-by-country basis for the biggest markets. According to the analytics company, the number that top-ranked apps get per day varies widely in different countries.

As you’d expect, markets like Italy and Australia have a lower average number of downloads per day, with 2,000 downloads for a top 50 placement. But the U.S. takes more than 25,000 downloads to reach the same Top 50 ranking. If a developer wants to rank in different local app stores, here is what you need to get:
[Update: Distimo says that the earlier version of its data aggregated the download volume for five applications in a given range of rankings (like ranks 6 to 10). The company has now updated its data by dividing numbers by five.]
  • United States – Top 10: 80,000; Top 25: 45,000; Top 50: 25,000
  • China — Top 10: 30,000; Top 25: 15,000; Top 50: 10,000
  • Canada – Top 10: 9,000; Top 25: 4,000; Top 50: 2,000
  • Japan – Top 10: 20,000; Top 25: 9,000; Top 50: 6,000
  • South Korea – Top 10: 20,000; Top 25: 9,000; Top 50: 5,000
  • United Kingdom – Top 10: 18,000; Top 25: 8,000; Top 50: 5,000
  • Germany – Top 10: 12,000; Top 25: 5,000; Top 50: 3,000
  • France – Top 10: 10,000; Top 25: 5,000; Top 50: 3,000
  • Italy – Top 10: 8,000; Top 25: 4,000; Top 50: 2,000
  • Australia – Top 10: 8,000; Top 25: 4,000; Top 50: 2,000

The 10 biggest countries in terms of download volume for free apps were: the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea, the U.K., Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Australia, with the U.S. accounting for the highest volume of free app downloads. These numbers are in line with previous reports that have pegged the U.S. and China as the biggest markets for Apple’s App Store, especially with Apple’s new chief executive Tim Cook saying China is now number 2 behind the U.S. in terms of raw revenue.

By comparison, according to new numbers from Google, the countries that downloaded the most Android apps per capita were South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US, Singapore, Sweden, Israel, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway. (Keep in mind that this is a very different statistic though. This is apps per capita, not raw total app installs.)

While the the Android marketplace and Apple’s App Store may have different user bases, both Distimo and Google show that the busiest time for app downloads is the weekend. On iOS, Saturday and Sunday account for a third of the week’s total app store downloads, making the weekend the best time to market products. But that also means it’s also the hardest time to break into the charts, as an app will require more downloads at that time to rank. The most popular time for users to download Android apps is Sunday at 9:00 pm.