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Top 100 Mobile Apps in Korea in 2020

AJ Marketing - Top 100 Mobile Apps in Korea in 2020

Did you know that South Korea has one of the highest mobile internet usage rates in the world? In 2023, more than 50.3 million people in the country were internet users, and there was a whopping 1.97 billion total mobile app downloads. That's an additional 48 million downloads from the previous year. It's no wonder why South Korea is considered a well-developed digital nation, and its people are known for being tech-savvy.

The market averagely spends more than 2.5 hours a day using the internet in their mobile devices. Their most common mobile activities are watching vlogs on YouTube, playing mobile games, shopping online, and scrolling through social media. The most common mobile apps South Koreans use are entertainment apps, gaming apps, and utility and productivity apps. With the current developments in tech, possibilities for mobile use keep increasing. The South Korean market's digital awareness moves in the same manner.

AJ Marketing - Top 100 Mobile Apps in Korea in 2020 - Mobile App Market Overview

It's no secret that people love spending time on their mobile devices and using the internet. Brands and businesses have definitely taken notice of this trend, which is why popular apps have become essential tools for launching marketing campaigns. After all, these apps are where people are spending most of their time! Thus, launching their marketing campaigns through the most-used apps will guarantee successful increase in brand exposure, which may eventually lead to conversions.

In this list, we explore the most popular and most downloaded mobile apps in South Korea in 2020. This data will continue to greatly influence mobile app behavior of Korean mobile users in 2024. We hope that this list gives you insight on the South Korean mobile behavior and usage trends. The following data have been collected from IGA Works, based on Android OS and iOS users. Let's take a look.

AJ Marketing - Top 100 Mobile Apps in Korea in 2020 - CONNECT

The Top 100 most used Mobile Apps in South Korea by Number of Users

  1. KaKao - messenger

  2. YouTube - video sharing

  3. Naver - search engine

  4. Google - search engine

  5. Google Chrome - web browser

  6. Coupang - e-commerce

  7. Band - social media

  8. Instagram - social media

  9. Baemin - food delivery

  10. T-Call - phone calling

AJ Marketing - Top 100 Mobile Apps in Korea in 2020 - Top 100 Mobile Apps in Korea by Number of Users in December 2020
Data from IGA Works, Translated by AJ Marketing

It's no secret that cracking the South Korean market is a challenge, even for the biggest names in tech like Uber, Apple Pay, Spotify, and Snapchat. The South Korean market is a unique and challenging one, which is why it's no surprise that these top platforms have had limited success there.

If you take a look at the Top 100 most-used applications in South Korea, you'll see that local apps are heavily favored by South Koreans. Tech giant Naver, for example, has developed multiple apps of its own, such as Naver Map, Naver Cafe, and Naver Webtoon. South Koreans are incredibly loyal to these domestic apps when it comes to e-commerce purchases, food delivery, and mobile payments.

That being said, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, as well as video-sharing apps like YouTube and TikTok, have still shown great success in Korea. These apps have become everyday parts of South Koreans' online routines and are well-established in the market.

Overall, the Top 100 mobile apps in South Korea are dominated by locally-developed apps that are more specific to the population's needs, likes, and culture. However, a few internationally-known apps have also thrived in this country, although they're significantly fewer in number. So, if you're looking to enter the South Korean market, it's worth considering launching your marketing campaign in the local apps that South Koreans are already using and love.

Top 100 Mobile Apps in South Korea by New Installments

  1. Carrot Market - e-commerce

  2. Baemin - food delivery

  3. Instagram - social media

  4. Coupang - e-commerce

  5. Zoom - video conferences

  6. Kart Rider Rush+ - gaming

  7. Netflix - content streaming service

  8. TikTok - social media

  9. T-Call - phone calling

  10. Naver - search engine

AJ Marketing - Top 100 Mobile Apps in Korea in 2020 - Top 100 Mobile Apps in Korea by Number of new Installs in 2020
Data from IGA Works, Translated by AJ Marketing

Did you know that South Koreans spent even more time on their mobile devices during the pandemic? In 2020, a report showed that people in South Korea spent an average of 4.4 hours on their mobile devices per day. That's a 19% increase from "pre-pandemic" times, when people weren't cooped up at home as much.

It's no surprise that with all this extra time spent at home, people turned to their phones and tablets for entertainment and social interaction. As a result, South Koreans have been exploring different applications that they weren't using before.

The list of the top 100 newly-downloaded apps is quite different from the 100 most-used apps. There are some international platforms that became wildly popular during the pandemic, like Zoom, Netflix, Among Us, and TikTok. And of course, food delivery apps like Baemin and Yogiyo saw a huge surge in downloads too.

Interestingly, people in South Korea also started using social media platforms like Today House, which is all about interior decoration. With all the restrictions on going outside, it makes sense that people would want to create a space that's comfortable and stylish to spend time in.

Lastly, games like KartRider Rush+, Among Us, Battleground, and ROBLOX also experienced a huge wave of new downloads during 2020. It just goes to show that people are looking for entertainment, relaxation, and distraction during these challenging times.

The COVID-19 pandemic has truly changed internet traffic and online market trends in South Korea. People are seeking out more apps for entertainment, connection, and comfort. It's interesting to see how the online landscape has shifted in response to this unprecedented time.

The Future of the Mobile Market in Korea

Mobility restrictions in South Korea has uncovered the great potential of online applications. Now, more than ever, South Koreans are spending the greatest amount of time looking at their phone screens, scrolling through their feeds, and availing online services. Apps for food delivery, online shopping, and online chatting are most-used. This activity were seen by marketers in the country as an opportunity for cost-effective and efficient marketing campaigns.

The online advertising market has skyrocketed in 2020. More focus is being shifted to mobile ads in efforts to take advantage of the increased mobile usage by the population. This opportunity is not only known to local brands, but to international brands as well.

Domestic apps have dominated Korean market for years. However, several global platforms have been successful in penetrating South Korean market. The trend is that more global businesses are successfully entering the country and we expect this trend to accelerate in the future.

If you are thinking about entering this market, then it is a "must" for you to follow the data on the population's most popular mobile apps. We hope this list has helped you in devising your next marketing campaign.

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