Over the past 6+ years since the Google Play Store was originally released under the "Android Market" moniker, the app store in question grew tremendously, and while the number of applications available for download was sitting at ~16,000 in December 2009, as of February 2016 the Google Play Store hosts over 2 million applications. Needless to say, the Google Play Store continued to grow in popularity, and according to a recent report from App Store optimization firm Sensor Tower, roughly 11.1 billion applications have been downloaded from the Google Play Store in the first quarter of 2016 alone.
Earlier this week Sensor Tower published a detailed report covering the performance of the Google Play Store, and according to the data, Google's platform is currently more successful than it's ever been. Roughly 11.1 billion app downloads have been registered in Q1 2016, representing an increase of 6.7% compared to Q1 2015. In addition, statistics show that the top 3 most popular / downloaded applications from the Play Store in the first quarter of the year are Facebook Messenger, Facebook, and Snapchat in that order. The 4th most downloaded application was Candy Crush Jelly Saga, and the fifth place was covered by Pandora. Interestingly enough, however, the app category that saw the biggest increase in popularity over the first quarter was photography with a 20% increase. Nonetheless, games appear to remain the most popular types of applications available in the Google Play Store, with statistics showing that games outnumber tools 5-to-1. Moreover, the number of games downloaded in the first quarter of the year surpasses the number of tool app installations 4-to-1.
It's also worth noting that in 2015, 68.8% of applications available in the Google Play Store were free, with the other 31.2% being accounted for by paid applications. In contrast, in the year 2009, 60.8% of applications were free, while 39.2% were paid apps. Another aspect worth mentioning is that at the end of July 2015, the Google Play Store had 100,000 more apps in its database compared to the Apple App Store, for a total of 1.6 million applications (now ~2 million). Needless to say, the Android platform has come a long way since its early days, with customers now having a much wider range of applications to choose from, free or otherwise.