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The World’s Most Used Apps, by Downstream Traffic

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The World’s Most Used Apps by Downstream Traffic

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The World’s Most Used Apps, by Downstream Traffic

Of the millions of apps available around the world, just a small handful of the most used apps dominate global internet traffic.

Everything connected to the internet takes bandwidth to view. When you look at something on your smartphone—whether it’s a new message on Instagram or the next few seconds of a YouTube video—your device is downloading the data in the background.

And the bigger the files, the more bandwidth is utilized. In this chart, we break down of the most used apps by category, using Sandvine’s global mobile traffic report for 2021 Q1.

Video Drives Global Mobile Internet Traffic

The biggest files use the most data, and video files take the cake.

According to Android Central, streaming video ranges from about 0.7GB per hour of data for a 480p video to 1.5GB per hour for 1080. A 4K stream, the highest resolution currently offered by most providers, uses around 7.2GB per hour.

That’s miles bigger than audio files, where high quality 320kbps music streams use an average of just 0.12GB per hour. Social network messages are usually just a few KB, while the pictures found on them can range from a few hundred KB for a low resolution image to hundreds of MB for high resolution.

Understandably, breaking down mobile downstream traffic by app category shows that video is on top by a long shot:

CategoryDownstream Traffic Share (2021 Q1)
Video Streaming48.9%
Social Networking19.3%
Web13.1%
Messaging6.7%
Gaming4.3%
Marketplace4.1%
File Sharing1.3%
Cloud1.1%
VPN and Security0.9%
Audio0.2%

Video streaming accounts for almost half of mobile downstream traffic worldwide at 49%. Audio streaming, including music and podcasts, accounts for just 0.2%.

Comparatively, social network and web browsing combined make up one third of downstream internet traffic. Games, marketplace apps, and file sharing, despite their large file sizes, only require one-time downloads that don’t put as big of a strain on traffic as video does.

A Handful of Companies Own the Most Used Apps

Though internet traffic data is broken down by category, it’s worth noting that many apps consume multiple types of bandwidth.

For example, messaging and social network apps, like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat, allow consumers to stream video, social network, and message.

Even marketplace apps like iTunes and Google Play consume bandwidth for video and audio streaming, and together account for 6.3% of total mobile downstream traffic.

But no single app had a bigger footprint than YouTube, which accounts for 20.4% of total global downstream bandwidth.

CategoryTop Apps (Category Traffic)Category Traffic Share
Video StreamingYouTube47.9%
Video StreamingTikTok16.1%
Video StreamingFacebook Video14.6%
Video StreamingInstagram12.1%
Video StreamingNetflix4.3%
Video StreamingOther5.0%
Social NetworkingFacebook50.5%
Social NetworkingInstagram41.9%
Social NetworkingTwitter2.4%
Social NetworkingOdnoklassniki1.9%
Social NetworkingQQ0.7%
Social NetworkingOther2.9%
MessagingWhatsApp31.4%
MessagingSnapchat16.5%
MessagingFacebook VoIP14.3%
MessagingLINE12.1%
MessagingSkype4.1%
MessagingOther21.6%
WebGoogle41.2%
WebOther58.8%

The world’s tech giants had the leading app in the four biggest data streaming categories. Alphabet’s YouTube and Google made up almost half of all video streaming and web browsing traffic, while Facebook’s own app, combined with Instagram and WhatsApp, accounted for 93% of global social networking traffic and 45% of messaging traffic.

Traffic usage by app highlights the data monopoly of tech giants and internet providers. Since just a few companies account for a majority of global smartphone internet traffic, they have a lot more bartering power (and responsibility) when it comes to our general internet consumption.

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Culture

Ranked: America’s Most Popular Beers, by Generation

We visualize the results of a YouGov survey that determined the most popular beers among each U.S. generation.

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America’s Most Popular Beers, by Generation

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

In this graphic we’ve visualized the most popular beers for each U.S. generation as of Q4 2023, according to a consumer survey conducted by YouGov.

The “popularity” metric represents the % of people who had a positive opinion of that beer. Note that YouGov surveys are conducted with a representative sample of 1,500 respondents.

Overview: Millennials

U.S. millennials appear to favor foreign beers, with the top five spots taken by Dutch (Heineken) or Mexican beers (Modelo, Corona).

BeerPopularity (%)
🇳🇱 Heineken60
🇲🇽 Modelo59
🇲🇽 Corona59
🇲🇽 Corona Extra58
🇲🇽 Corona Light58
🇺🇸 White Claw56
🇮🇪 Guinness55
🇧🇪 Stella Artois55
🇺🇸 Budweiser54
🇺🇸 Miller54

While not exactly a beer, White Claws (which have a similar alcohol content) claimed sixth place. Hard seltzers have become very popular in recent years due to their variety of flavors, attractive packaging, and relatively low amount of carbs and calories.

Overview: Gen X

Gen X also has a strong preference for foreign beers, particularly Guinness (fun fact: Over 31 million Americans claim to be of Irish descent).

BeerPopularity (%)
🇮🇪 Guinness57
🇳🇱 Heineken49
🇲🇽 Corona49
🇲🇽 Modelo47
🇺🇸 Samuel Adams47
🇧🇪 Stella Artois46
🇲🇽 Corona Extra45
🇲🇽 Corona Light44
🇺🇸 Blue Moon43
🇺🇸 Miller41

Two American beers that weren’t on Millennials’ top 10 list are Samuel Adams and Blue Moon.

Samuel Adams is the flagship brand of the Boston Beer Company, named after U.S. Founding Father Samuel Adams. On the other hand, Blue Moon is a Belgian-style witbier brewed by Molson Coors.

Overview: Baby Boomers

Boomers’ top 10 favorite beers are similar to Gen X, with a few key differences. One is the absence of Modelo, which ranked second and fourth for Millennials and Gen X, respectively.

Modelo (which became America’s best-selling beer in 2023) has focused its advertising efforts on sports, which may not reach Boomers as effectively as younger generations.

BeerPopularity (%)
🇮🇪 Guinness49
🇳🇱 Heineken48
🇲🇽 Corona48
🇺🇸 Samuel Adams46
🇺🇸 Coors43
🇺🇸 Miller38
🇺🇸 Michelob Light38
🇺🇸 Miller Lite37
🇲🇽 Dos Equis37
🇧🇪 Stella Artois37

An interesting pick for Boomers is Dos Equis, which is produced by Heineken-owned Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery. The brand gained popularity for its “most interesting man in the world” commercials, which ran from 2006 to 2018.

See More Beer Graphics 🍺

Be sure to check out this graphic which breaks down global beer consumption by country.

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