How Many Downloads Does it Take to Hit #1 in the App Store and Play Store?

According to a report from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, apps today need 37% more daily downloads to rank number one on the U.S. App Store than they did in 2019 (via TechCrunch).

Estimates suggest an iOS app now requires 156,000 downloads on any given day to take the top spot, as opposed to 114,000 back in 2019.

Image: Sensor Tower

What’s more, daily downloads aren’t the only factor Apple’s App Store ranking algorithms take into account. Given how easy it is to exploit download statistics, relying solely on downloads would result in more fraudulent apps making their way onto the App Store’s Top Charts than there already are.

While the App Store’s ranking algorithm is a trade secret, research firm Apptopia claims to have rever-engineered the current version of it.

The company says Apple’s ranking algorithm considers several other factors, including velocity, app usage, the number of new users, and more. Daily downloads do, however, maintain a key role in determining an app’s rank.

The number of daily downloads required to hit number one on the U.S. App Store reached a record 185,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Overall app downloads and usage saw a substantial boost during the stay-at-home days.

Google’s Play Store is comparatively easier to rank on. Android apps now only need 56,000 daily installs to get to the number one spot, down 33% from 83,000 in 2019.

Image: Sensor Tower

To simply break into the Top 10 charts, an app requires 52,000 daily downloads on the App Store, up 2% from 51,000 required in 2019, and 29,000 daily downloads on the Play Store, down 9% from 2019 levels.