How Volatile Are Categories in the App Stores?

Gwenaëlle Kolleggerby

2 min read

Getting into the top ranking of a category is a huge deal for apps and a very desirable goal for all app marketers and ASO professionals.

If you’ve managed to get your app into the top 10 category ranking (no small feat, depending on the category), you’d want to be aware of how hard it’s going to be to stay there. On the other hand, if you’re still struggling to break into that list, you’ll need to know your likelihood of success.

For both cases, volatility plays an important part. If the volatility is very low, that means that the top 10 is locked and it’s really hard to get any new apps in there. If the volatility is high, it means that many new apps might take your place at any time.

A look at volatility on iOS and Android

First, let’s look at the App Store.

The volatility for paid apps is much higher than for free apps in categories such as Finance, Food’n Drink, Music, and Shopping. One explanation might be that since apps tend to have much less downloads in those categories than free apps, any new download has a bigger impact. However, we see that for the Games category, the opposite is true: the top 10 free apps are much more volatile. The Games category is usually an outlier, as it is extremely competitive and the number of both paid and free apps that are published in it is huge.

Let’s compare these results with Google Play.

  • On Android, we can notice that the volatility is more stable across categories. All 6 categories have a volatility between 10 and 40%, while on iOS, the volatility goes from near 0% to near 50%.
  • The volatility for paid apps is also higher than the volatility for free apps, and this time that trends is seen across all 6 categories. It’s interesting to see that the Games (free) category is much less volatile on Android than on iOS, while the Games (paid) category is about the same.
  • If we disregard categories and look at all apps, we can see that the trend is confirmed; although more clearly for Android than for iOS.

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Gwenaëlle Kollegger
Gwenaëlle worked at Apptweak first as a Business Development Manager in 2019 and as a customer success representative the next year. She thinks exciting times are ahead for mobile marketers and is always looking for the next amazing app to install on her phone!