What Does Temu's Latest Milestone Mean for App Makers?

Ariel Ariel
3/17/23

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - All About the Money!. Check out the full article for more insights.


Temu has been on the App Store since September of last year, but unlike many most other apps that come and go, Temu didn't.

At all.

For the last six months, Temu has been the #1 most downloaded app in the US App Store. Temu was dethroned a few times for short periods, but overall it's been the top result every day since launch.

How many downloads is that?

Well, this week Temu hit a new milestone!

As of this Wednesday, we estimate that Temu's App Store downloads crossed 20,000,000.

20 million iOS devices have the Temu app. That's a lot of downloads for a brand-new app that competes with big names such as Amazon and SHEIN. Temu's downloads outpaced both. Combined.

Is there really that much demand for another shopping app? Maybe, but unlikely. Like most other shopping apps, I believe these downloads are the result of several massive ad campaigns.

According to our Apple Search Ad Intelligence, Temu's campaigns span more than 3,000 keywords. That's quite a few, and that's just on Apple's ad network...

Obviously, Temu really wants to be on as many phones as possible at all costs, and has the funding to do it. Not something most apps have, making it somewhat of an unfair competitor.

But what Temu gets by paying you can get for free.

I inspected some of the keywords Temu pays for and noticed two interesting trends:

  1. Many of the keywords are really generic and unlikely to drive any downloads. Keywords like geek, wishlist, ulta, and urban decay are irrelevant money burners and probably the result of a broad match campaign (which you should always avoid).
  2. Temu doesn't rank well organically for the more important keywords, leaving the door open for competitors.

Temu is an extreme example of a big spender in a market that doesn't include too many small apps, but that shouldn't discourage anyone from competing with big spenders -- The key is to do what they don't.

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.


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