Top 100 Mobile Apps in Korea in 2020

Top 100 Mobile Apps in Korea in 2020

The South Korean market has one of the highest mobile internet usages in the world. 2020 data shows that more than 46 million of the country’s population are Internet users, with 94.9% of them using their smartphones to connect to the internet. South Korea’s smartphone penetration is also highest in the world at 95.42% as of 2020. This merely proves that South Korea is a well-developed digital nation, and its population is truly tech-savvy.

The market averagely spends more than 4 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 Instagram. The most common mobile apps South Koreans use are chat apps, social media platforms, entertainment apps, gaming apps, and shopping 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.

Use of Mobile Apps by Category in South Korea 2020

Verily, brands and businesses noticed this trend in mobile use and internet activity. Popular apps have become useful tools for marketers in launching their campaigns, because these apps are where the people spend their time in. 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. 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.

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

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

South Korea is a difficult market to crack, even for well-known top platforms that are enjoyed in other countries. Globally popular applications like Uber, Apple Pay, Spotify and Snapchat have seen limited success in South Korea.

Looking at the list of the Top 100 most used applications, we can see that domestic apps are heavily favored by South Koreans. Naver, a local tech giant, has developed multiple apps of its own, including Naver Map, Naver Cafe and Naver Webtoon. South Koreans are notoriously loyal to these domestic apps for e-commerce purchases, food delivery and mobile payments.

On the other hand, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, as well as video sharing apps like YouTube and TikTok have still shown great success in Korea. Apps like these are well-established and have become every day parts of this market's online routine.

Overall, South Korea's Top 100 mobile apps in terms of usage is dominated by locally-developed apps more specific to this population's needs, likes, and culture. Meanwhile, a few internationally-known apps have also thrived in this country, but are significantly less in number. Thus, when entering the South Korean market, a brand may look into the local apps of South Korea and consider launching their marketing campaign in these apps.

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

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

South Koreans spent more time on their mobile devices as a result of the pandemic. A report has shown that South Koreans spent an average of 4.4 hours on mobile devices per day, an increase of 19% from the previous year in “pre-pandemic” times.

A combination of this unprecedented time spent at home and scarcity of social activities drove people to spend more time looking at their mobile screens. With this increased screen time, South Koreans have explored different applications that they were not using and seeing before.

The list of the top 100 newly-downloaded apps is noticeably different from the 100 most-used apps. There are international platforms which become popular during the pandemic, such as Zoom, Netflix, Among Us, and TikTok. The list also shows an increase in download of food delivery apps such as Baemin and Yogiyo.

Today House, a social media based interior decoration platform, was also downloaded in large number. Due to restrictions for going outside, South Koreans now want to create a space that is stylish and comfortable to be in for long periods of time. Lastly, games like KartRider Rush+, Among Us, Battleground and ROBLOX also experienced a wave of new downloads during 2020.

The surge of COVID-19 truly changed internet traffic and online market trends in South Korea. People are now seeking more apps for entertainment, relaxation, and distraction during these unfortunate times. This can be seen by the increase in number of apps downloads for video apps, conferencing apps, games, and lifestyle apps.

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.

To know more about the South Korean market, visit the AJ Marketing Blog.

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