Snapchat, Vine and Candy Crush Saga are the most downloaded mobile apps of the year.
There are more than a million apps on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store, the two dominant marketplaces for apps, which see billions of downloads each year.
This year, the most downloaded apps were new takes on communication, gaming, and entertainment, Reuters reported.
“2013 was a really interesting year in terms of maturation, milestones and new trends,” said Craig Palli, chief strategy officer at Fiksu, a mobile marketing company based in Boston. “The most downloaded apps were in familiar categories, but offered new twists.”
While old favorites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter — available for iPhone, Android and other devices – continued to be popular ways of communicating with friends, Snapchat eclipsed them in downloads in 2013, becoming the sixth most downloaded free app of the year on the App Store, according to Apple.
Snapchat enables users to send photos and videos that disappear shortly after they are viewed.
Launched in 2011, the app’s user base continued to grow rapidly in 2013, with over 13 million people using the app in October, according to the latest available estimates from global information and measurement company Nielsen. In December alone, over 400 million pieces of content were shared through the app, according to Snapchat.
Vine, a video sharing app released earlier this year by microblogging company Twitter, was the fourth most downloaded free app in 2013. The app, for iPhone, Android and other devices, allows users to share videos under six seconds in length. Nielsen estimates over 6 million people in the US were using the app in October of this year.
Snapchat and Vine fall into a category that mobile analytics firm Flurry calls camera-enhanced messaging, which they said grew eightfold in 2013.
Games were another popular category, with Candy Crush Saga for iPhone, Android and Kindle Fire securing its position as the top downloaded free app, and as the top revenue grossing app. It has been downloaded over 500 million times since its launch last year, according to its creator King, based in the UK. Nielsen estimates that over 20 million people in the US were playing the game in October of this year.
In the entertainment category, Pandora continued to be the leading way to stream music and was the ninth most downloaded, and third top grossing, app in 2013.
The biggest trend of 2013 is the emergence of apps as a way to control companion devices, which he believes will continue to grow in 2014.
On Christmas Day, apps that pair with devices were among some of the top downloaded apps on the App Store.
The Fitbit app, for iPhone and Android, pairs with an electronic wristband to track metrics such as steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. It was the 16th most downloaded app on December 25.
Other apps that pair with devices, such as Chromecast, UP by Jawbone, and GoPro were also among the top downloads that day.
Apps for televisions will be the trend to watch for 2014.