How to Source Business Ideas from Data on the Most Used Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are everywhere these days. Experts estimate that in 2020, there were over 218 billion app downloads worldwide. With apps like Facebook, Amazon, and Spotify dominating the top used apps leaderboards, it’s no surprise that they account for the bulk of mobile data traffic.

There are many lessons savvy upstart entrepreneurs can learn from app usage statistics. Aside from picking UI and UX tips for your next idea, you can also scour lists of the most popular apps to figure out what your next business idea might be.

Let’s take a deeper look at how popular app download lists can help you hone in on a high-potential venture, whether that’s a mobile app of your own or something else altogether.

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Spot Established Trends

Trends come and go in the market. Entrepreneurs often ride these trends, but figuring out which trends are actually here to stay and which are merely passing fads can be challenging. Both types of trends are lucrative, but ideally, you’d want to ride the longer one.

App download trends reveal where user interest lies. For instance, the app Crypto.com made waves recently and surged to the top of “most downloaded” lists. On the surface, this popularity is easy to understand. Blockchain, DeFi, and cryptocurrencies have been gaining traction as niches for a while.

However, the way these popular apps advertise themselves can offer niche-specific clues. Crypto.com, for instance, mentions the currencies SHIB and BTC in its ads. Clearly, these currencies are popular, and entrepreneurs can explore niche-specific business ideas involving these coins.

If you’re technical enough, perhaps exploring some of the shortcomings of these networks and proposing solutions might lead to a great DeFi project idea.

If you spot apps belonging to an entire sector moving up these lists at once, it’s a sign that the industry is hot. Instead of building a competitor app, building an app that serves that industry will lead to a winner. For instance, crypto and DeFi are popular, but there are often significant security issues involved with this niche.

However, establishing a service-based business like smart contract auditing, token liquidity, and general security auditing will help you capture the demand in that industry without opening yourself up to competition from within it.

Spot Virality

While long-term trends are the best, viral trends offer entrepreneurs micro-opportunities to make big bucks – provided that you can get out in time.

If you’re running an online print-on-demand platform or Amazon Merch business, then spotting viral trends can be a goldmine. These businesses typically require you to create and upload trending designs quickly, and there are even Shopify apps that can help you with this sort of rapid rollout strategy.

Getting back to the top mobile app downloads, though, you can see that these lists are dominated by big tech. But dig deeper, and you’ll locate trending apps that are going viral. A good example of this was the surge of apps with the name “squid” in them over the past month. Clearly, these apps were referring to the popular Netflix show Squid Game, and the trend is easy to spot.

However, if you had no idea what the show was, the surge of apps with such names would have caught your eye. These trends in download lists also help you validate your idea to a large extent. The greater the number of copycat apps trying to cash in on a trend, the larger the opportunity for you to take advantage.

Savvy entrepreneurs can even create a network of apps based on the viral trend. For instance, a gaming app, a PoD app, a role-playing RPG app, and so on can be branded with a Squid Game-related theme, and app creators can cash in on the trend.

Gaps in the Market

While rising apps provide valuable information, apps falling out of popularity also offer many clues.

The reason for an app’s downward trend can highlight a gap in the market that you can use to your advantage. For instance, data privacy is a major issue that has plagued the world’s most popular social media apps.

Apple has been taking advantage of this by pushing privacy as a central feature in its products. Messaging services Discord and Telegram have been highlighting encryption to position themselves as viable alternatives to WhatsApp and WeChat. The entire blockchain and DeFi industries are built on privacy and security.

While these examples are broad, they apply to smaller apps as well. For instance, a game might lose popularity because it doesn’t have certain features users want. Introducing a copycat concept that does have those features might help you rake in users and build a great business.

Cross-Selling Opportunities

No one downloads a single app. Users typically download a cluster of apps that help them throughout the day. Analyzing these clusters will help you develop a winning business plan. For instance, users of the popular Cash App are also interested in productivity tools, according to app usage data.

You can develop a productivity app and market it to those users. Once your productivity app gains popularity, you can develop a related app (based on usage data) and market it to existing users while knowing they’re already interested in your new app’s concept.

Cross sales like these are just one of many opportunities that app usage data can give you when you’re trying to create a new business.

Tap Those Ranking Trends

Many entrepreneurs have the drive to succeed but lack ideas. App usage data is just one tool that you can use to quickly generate new ideas, jog your creativity and validate your direction.

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