Google, Facebook Control Smartphone Apps Landscape

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Do Facebook and Google have a stranglehold on the smartphone app market?

Google, Facebook Control Smartphone Apps Landscape
Google, Facebook Control Smartphone Apps Landscape

The year of 2017 is officially here, and with it comes the release of many, many year-end lists for 2016. One of the most interesting was produced by Nielsen, which ranked its top smartphone apps of 2016, with Facebook and Google dominating the list.

Do Facebook and Google have a stranglehold on the smartphone app market? There are reasons to think that might be the case

In its ranking encompassing both Facebook and Google apps, Nielsen shows Facebook with top two spots (and Instagram farther down), followed by five Google apps.

The interest doesn't merely rest in Google and Facebook's dominance of the smartphone app landscape, but the lack of competition. Who is to blame? Is Google and Facebook's monopolization of the smartphone app domain a testamant their products or a reflection on their competition?

While Apple Music and Amazon round out the top 10, the apps with the strongest year-over-year audience growth were Amazon and Instagram, according to Nielsen.

However, Facebook had an estimated 150 million average unique app users each month in 2016,  a growth of 14% from last year. Facebook Messenger came in second with over 129 million average unique users each month, followed by YouTube with more than 113 million average unique users each month.

The list was ranked on average unique audiences, which is the average of January 2016 - October 2016. The year-over-year percent change represents the unique audience of October 2016 compared to the unique audience of October 2015.

Among the top 10 smartphone apps, the apps with highest year-over-year change were Amazon App and Instagram, with 43% and 36% growth in users from 2015, respectively.

The Google apps that made the list were Google Maps, Google Search, Google Play and Gmail.

It is evident 2016 was a success for Google and Facebook, however, many other smartphone app publishers are left to readjust, by questioning how and if they can ever break through in the new year.

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