With smartphone penetration in the United States rising year after year, competition for app time is getting increasingly fierce. As it stands, recent data indicates that US mobile in-app advertising spend is expected to rise by 11.4% in 2024, to $177.44 billion. However, the number of apps the average smartphone user is expected to install is projected to fall. This translates to a more challenging environment for both app developers and marketers, who must now work harder to ensure their apps not only capture but also retain user interest. Understanding what the most popular app categories are can help to achieve this goal. Here’s a look at the latest app category list ranked by popularity.

Mobile app category

Number of users


201.9 million


190.0 million

Social networking

187.2 million


186.1 million


180.0 million


163.7 million

Mobile messaging

162.2 million


160.6 million

Mobile banking

150.9 million


120.9 million

Travel booking

118.2 million


86.5 million

Ride sharing

77.6 million


57.3 million

Food delivery

51 million


44.3 million


29.7 million

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Top categories of apps by user count: top 10

1. Video: 201.9 million

Leading the pack with 201.9 million users, video apps play a vital role in providing digital entertainment, offering a range of content from streaming services to short video clips. According to the latest online video consumption statistics, music and comedy, meme, and viral videos are currently the most popular types of videos on the internet.

2. Map/navigation: 190 million

With 190 million users relying on them for directions and location-based services, map and navigation ranks second on the app category list ranking categories by user count.

3. Social networking: 187.2 million

Close behind, social networking apps boast 187.2 million users. The number of social media users in the US is projected to rise to 313.8 million in 2024, with Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger leading as the most popular social networks.

4. Weather: 186.1 million

Essential to as many as 186.1 million users, weather apps provide timely updates and forecasts, helping users plan their daily lives.

5. Audio: 180 million

Audio apps round out the five most popular categories of mobile apps, with 180 million users. These include music streaming apps like Spotify, podcasts, and radio. Currently, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Shazam rank as the top music apps

6. Gaming: 163.7 million

According to analysts, ad revenues from gaming apps, used by 163.7 million US consumers, are set to rise by 13% in 2024, to $7.74 billion. By 2027, this figure is projected to exceed $10 billion, 51.1% more than in 2023.

7. Mobile messaging: 162.2 million

With 162.2 million users, popular messaging apps in the US like Facebook Messenger and Google Messages keep consumers connected through text, voice, and video communication.

8. Retail/shopping: 160.6 million

Ecommerce apps are used by as many as 160.6 million users, with apps like Temu, SHEIN, and Amazon Shopping among consumers’ favorites

9. Mobile banking: 150.9 million

Mobile banking also ranks among the most popular mobile app categories. They are used by just over 150 million people to facilitate transactions, allowing users to manage their finances and payments on the go.

10. News: 120.9 million

News apps round out the top 10 mobile app categories in the US, with 120.9 million users.

Top mobile app categories: others 

Further down the app category list, apps related to travel booking, health and fitness, ride-sharing, sports, food delivery, grocery, and dating apps are also widely accessed by US smartphone users. 

Fastest-growing mobile app categories

According to the data, all app category users are anticipated to grow over the next four years. Grocery app users are set to lead the way, with a projected 5.3% increase in 2024. This highlights areas of opportunity for marketers, especially those in relevant sectors.

Health/fitness, dating, and sports app categories are also expected to increase their user base significantly this year. Users of health and fitness apps are forecast to grow by 3.5%, while those of dating and sports apps by 2.8% each.

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