It's hard to believe that only a decade ago, apps weren't a major part of our everyday lives. And it's much harder to grasp that thirty years ago, mobile apps weren't even a thing. A world where we don't have everything we might want and need at the touch of our fingerprints becomes more and more foreign to us every day that passes, particularly for younger generations that weren't born before the boom of modern technology.
Whether it's food delivery, cleaning services, rides, or social media, it's hard to imagine a necessity that isn't covered by at least one out of the millions (yes, millions) of apps that exist. It's one of the most profitable businesses, and if you make it, you make it big. And while this is a market that is always changing, it's possible to grasp which are the ones bringing in the big bucks. Let's count down the 10 most profitable apps of all time!
Even if you haven't heard of it, QQ is not only one of the most profitable apps of all time, it's also one of the most downloaded apps ever. It's China's most popular social network, and much like Facebook-owned WhatsApp, it allows users to have video chats and exchange instant messages, among many other features.
With an estimated revenue of $15 million a year, the app has no problem bringing in the money. It currently ranks number 9 on the App Store's highest-grossing apps of 2018, and while this represents slowed growth relative to the past, it's still one of the most profitable apps of all time.
Short video sharing platform Kwai is owned by the same company that owns the previous app on this list: Tencent. Also a form of social media sharing, Kwai can be equated to the famous app TikTok, allowing its users to record and instantly share short videos of their choosing.
Kwai is extremely famous in China, so much so that it ranks second in the top-grossing photo and video apps worldwide for the second quarter of 2019, with $78 million in revenue. It's number 9 on our list of the most profitable apps of all time.
8 HBO Now
Even though 2018 represented slower growth for HBO Now, the streaming app still remains one of the highest-grossing apps of all time, and it ranks number 8 on the Apple Store's list of Top Apps By All Time Worldwide Consumer Spend.
Subscription services are easier to bring in the money, since subscribers are expected to pay a monthly fee for the services provided. According to Statista, the app has earned $3.2 billion from the subscription fees alone, and the new quarter of 2019 showed an increase in the app's revenue. It's unlikely that HBO Now will leave its ranking as one of the most profitable apps of all time.
Also based in China, and owned by the country's largest search engine, Baidu, iQiyi is an online video platform that gathers several social networking features within the same app. It's an extremely popular app that has been making some serious money since it launched nine years ago, in 2010.
In 2018, the app was number four on the list of the highest-grossing apps of the year, and is number seven on the Apple Store's list of Top Apps By All Time Worldwide Consumer Spend. According to Forbes, the company's revenue is expected to be as high as $18.7 billion by 2020, meaning there's a high possibility it will keep getting higher in the ranking of the most profitable apps of all time.
Line is hands down the most popular social media platform in Japan. Much like competitors WhatsApp and QQ, the app allows its users to make video calls, use instant messaging, and connect with each other in several different ways.
In 2018, it was the eighth highest-grossing app worldwide, with a total revenue of $1.9 billion, and at the beginning of the year 2019, it had almost 200 million users worldwide. While there's no telling where the company will end up at the end of the current year, it's safe to assume it won't go anywhere when it comes to this list.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular apps of the last ten years, and the most popular dating app of all time, Tinder has been making headlines all over the world since it first launched in 2012.
As the second highest-grossing app of the year 2018, and with a reported revenue of nearly $500 million for the second quarter of 2019 alone, Tinder is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down its winning streak when it comes both to popularity and money.
4 Tencent Video
Much like any other streaming service, Tencent Video allows subscribers to stream their favorite movies and television shows in exchange for a subscription fee, a model that has been proven to work quite well.
Tencent Video is the third highest-grossing app of 2018 worldwide, and ranks fourth on the Apple Store's list of Top Apps By All Time Worldwide Consumer Spend. The app pulled $12.92 billion in revenue during the second quarter of 2019, and still remains high up on the list of the most profitable apps of all time.
3 Pandora Radio
It might sound like somewhat of a strange name, but truth is, Pandora Radio is one of the most popular music streaming apps in the world, and one of the most profitable apps of all time.
Even though the app isn't available outside of the United States, it has already achieved unbelievable success, as the fifth highest-grossing app of 2018. Bringing in over $400 million in the second quarter of 2019 alone, the app has an ensure place on this list.
The only music streaming app more popular than Pandora Radio is, of course, Spotify, mostly due to the fact that the platform is available pretty much worldwide. With its premium model, Spotify has managed to convert a substantial amount of free users into paying customers.
Even though the past few months seemed to bring bad news for the apps' growth, the latest quarter showed exactly why Spotify still remains one of the most profitable apps of all time, having brought in a spectacular $1.92 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2019.
Netflix and chill? The only way you haven't heard this expression before is if you've been living under a rock, which is a huge testament to the popularity of the app. But popularity isn't enough, and the streaming service knows it - which is why we need to talk numbers.
Netflix is number one both on the Apple Store's list of Top Apps By All Time Worldwide Consumer Spend and as the highest-grossing app of 2018. Plus, in the third quarter of 2019 alone, Netflix reported a whopping $5.24 billion in revenue. Still to this day, Netflix is the most profitable app of all time!