This Week in Apps is a short, no-fluff, round-up of interesting things that happened in the mobile industry. Here are our top highlights.
U.S. Mobile Download Index: App Store 123.53, Google Play 89.78
📈 The App Store has been busy this week, adding 7 points to the index as we get close to the end of an upside-down year that is 2020. Google Play has also grown a bit this week nearly across all categories.
1. The most downloaded app in 2020 was...
We crunched the numbers and ranked all apps by downloads in 2020.
Yes, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube were on the list, but... The biggest winner of the year was, by far, TikTok, which added more than 800,000,000 new downloads across the App Store and Google Play this year, growing by 43% compared to 2019.
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2. Let's talk taco
Would you download an app for free food? If you said yes, you're not alone.
Taco Bell did just that last week and earned more than 450,000 new downloads in the span of less than a week. At its peak, on Wednesday, downloads topped 120,000, according to our estimates.
If you're doing the math, this is probably cheaper than using Facebook ads.
3. Get ready for Wonderwoman
HBO Max has seen a significant increase in revenue from its iOS and Android apps over the last week after sister company Warner Bros. announced it'll publish its entire catalog on the streaming service.
The kicker, they're going to publish new movies, like Wonderwoman 1984, to theatres at the same time as they make it available for streaming. A bold move by AT&T, which owns both.
Revenue, which is a proxy for paying subscribers, rose to $3.58 million in the first week of December (11/30 - 12/6). The first week in November brought in just $2.7M, indicating a serious increase in paying subscribers. Roughly 60,000 according to my back of the envelope calculation.
4. Naughty or nice?
Portable North Pole, an app for parents to create video messages from Santa to their kids, is getting some traction. According to our estimates, downloads have started climbing steadily since the beginning of November, going from just a handful (a nicer way to say less than 50) a day to nearly 300,000 last Sunday.
Since November, the app added more than 4.4 million new downloads, as parents need a replacement for in-person Santa conversation about doing chores.
5. They won't get far
Looking for new friends on Snapchat? Wave, an app that lets you browse Snapchat profiles, is fighting its way up the top charts.
The app, which isn't owned by Snapchat, saw downloads jump by more than 30x this week, going from under 1K/day to more than 34K this Tuesday and 32K on Wednesday.
Given what it does + how it uses the Snapchat trademark + nearly-identical interface, I don't see this app sticking around for too long.
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Note: All figures included in this report are estimated. Revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.