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Top Ranking and Most Popular Apps of 2013

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iphone_apps.jpgData sharing may have hit a whole new level in 2013, but market research company, Nielsen Ratings, still owns a valuable piece of data-based real estate when it comes to what people watch and what people buy. The leading global information and measurement company recently released the mobile app rankings for 2013. The Who’s Who of the social media and app development tidal wave probably won't surprise you, but the statistics that back these rankings up, just might.

How "Smart" is the Average American Household?

Before Nielsen could tabulate the top-ranking mobile apps of the year, they needed to find out some basic information about our level of technological savviness in the United States.

According to the year-end data, an estimated 62 to 65 percent of the American population now owns a smartphone. That translates to more than 150 million smartphone users on a daily basis.

As far as tablets are concerned, somewhere between 29 and 35 percent of Americans over the age of 16 own a tablet. The pre-holiday estimates are in; that percentage means that there are more than 80 million tablets in households across the United States. The number is expected to grow exponentially after gift giving season ends. The early forecast: 100 million tablets and growing.

There is a direct correlation between the household adoption of these technology options and the year's top-rated mobile apps.

Who Leads the Mobile World?

Not every popular technological innovation is included in Nielsen findings. iPads, iPods, and MP3 players are not included in this statistical extrapolation. The results shed some interesting light on the war to conquer the mobile market.

There is a three-way split between the giants of mobile capability:

  • Apple owns 41% of the OS smart phone market
  • Android owns 52% of the OS smart phone market
  • Google dominates the remainder of the market

Who's Who

The 2013 Who's Who in the app world definitely has consistent players. While Facebook always seems to be voted Most Popular, Google is definitely clinching the Most Likely to Succeed title. However, we see some underdogs steadily rising in the ranks. Maybe with Instagram and Pinterest's new features and tools, they could be serious contenders for Most Versatile.

Perhaps you can see where this is going already, but if you need it spelled out for you, here's how those market shares play out in the mobile app rankings for 2013 and some up and comers in the app world:

  • The Facebook app is number one on the top 10 list. That’s not surprising. Instagram, which was bought out by Facebook, is ranked seventh, but is arguably the fastest growing app this year. 
  • Not to be overshadowed by social media's meteoric rise; Apple Maps takes second place in the fastest-growing category.
  • Google claims the most mobile app "shelf space,” dominating the rest of the list with five of their apps ranked in the top 10, including Google Maps and Gmail.
  • Twitter plays the role of social media bookend; rounding out the list at number 10.

While these didn't make the Top 10 cut, they are certainly trending and growing in popularity.

  • Snapchat may not be a front-runner, but it's certainly got some gumption. The trendy start-up reportedly turned down a generous offer from social media giant Facebook. Good for you, Snapchat!
  • Spotify, Pandora and Shazam proved very popular this year.
  • And we think Pinterest deserves honorable mention, especially with its leverage with businesses these days.

As the mobile app market continues to expand, it's clear who the front-runners in this consumer driven game are, but sprinkling in a little diversity next year couldn’t hurt, or could it?

Questions and Final Thoughts?

What are your favorite apps of 2013, and which ones do you expect to become popular in 2014? Do you think Facebook will lose its crown?


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photo courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / Free Digital Photos

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