This Week in Apps - Ending the Year with a Bang!
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. Revenue Index (30 Day)
1. Demand for Streaming Apps Grew 16% in 2022
I took an in-depth look at streaming apps this week. It's a longer report than what I usually put into This Week in Apps so here's the summary and you can read the full report here.
I want to do more of those in 2023. What do you think?
Streaming apps are one of my favorite groups of apps to look at. I looked at it a bunch during the pandemic years (2020, 2021) as demand skyrocketed, but 2022 was a bit different.
Overall, the top 10 streaming apps in the US saw demand grow by 16% in 2022, which is more than I expected. But that's only half of the story.
Peacock grew the most in 2022, as downloads went up 62% thanks mainly to sports but also to exclusive content. It was also the most downloaded streaming app in the US in 2022, adding 22.6M new users to its streaming pool, according to our estimates.
HBO Max grew the least in 2022. Actually, downloads shrunk 10% when compared to 2021. That I didn't expect, but I'm also not exceptionally surprised. HBO Max had a stellar 2021 thanks to original content. But that wasn't the case in 2022. I can't think of anything released by HBO Max that'd move the needle.
Netflix is in a similar boat. Downloads dropped by 1%, which isn't terrible but also is because a drop means no growth. And if you ask me, it's for the same reason. Content is still king, and it looks like the smaller streamers managed to figure it out in 2022, taking attention away from the bigs.
The full report has a deeper analysis and more charts. Check it out →
2. Temu Skips Ahead of Amazon and Walmart
The shopping of the year app aware, which isn't a real award, should be going to Temu, a late entrant hailing from China that's taken over the App Store in September and hasn't (yet) dropped.
What does a high rank mean for Temu? Lots of downloads!
According to our App Intelligence, Temu has been downloaded by more than 16 million people since it was launched in September. That's an impressive number, but...
There's a big difference between an app being in demand and an app getting downloads. The latter usually indicates the downloads aren't organic but rather a result of heavy advertising, which I suspect is the case here.
I say that both because our ASA Intelligence, which is really coming soon, is showing lots of hits + the downloads are fairly similar between the App Store and Google Play, which usually indicates non-organic growth for apps that haven't gone truly viral.
That's not bad news in any way though. A lot of online commerce moved in-app over the last few years, and Temu is spending heavily to make sure it earns its time in the spotlight now. TikTok did the same thing several years ago which is what kickstarted its incredible reach.
Thanks to its heavy promotion, Temu has managed to advance ahead of shopping king Amazon and rival Walmart during the most important time of the year for shopping apps.
It's worth noting that while Temu is technically available globally and is also seeing downloads outside the US, the main focus is clearly on the US, where 99% of downloads are coming from. Another good indication that this isn't organic demand.
I'm not a big fan of buying cheap stuff from unknown brands so I haven't used Temu yet - have you? How was the experience?
3. CapCut Crosses 2M Daily Downloads – Most Ever!
CapCut is on fire the last few weeks! I talked about it a few weeks ago when its downloads doubled, but this week it crossed another milestone so I have to being it up again.
According to our estimates, CapCut's global downloads, including downloads in China which come under a different app, crossed 2 million earlier this week. The highest number of daily downloads the app has seen.
According to our estimates, CapCut earned its highest day of downloads just before the Christmas break, and it wasn't only the highest day of downloads but also the first (and only) time CapCut had more than 2,000,000 downloads in a single day.
The majority of downloads came from Google Play, which is pretty standard when considering its global reach. And yes, like its parent TikTok, CapCut is also banned in India, making its rise even more impressive.
What's also interesting, and likely even more important than downloads, is revenue!
CapCut has been monetizing its app in China for a long time now but wasn't in the US. That changed recently and we now see revenue starting to align with downloads. In numbers, CapCut has seen roughly $400K of net revenue outside of China in November and also in December, according to our estimates.
That's a little lower than China's revenue, which we estimate to be around $2M per month, but that's because it just started charging a few months ago.
And that's going to mean bad news for the entire video editing app space, which enjoyed healthy revenue for quite a few years. I expect that to be a lot harder now and that CapCut is pushing.
I'll leave you with this - CapCut's organic rank for the keyword "video editor" rose from #9 (which no one really sees) up to #3, a not-so-easy feat considering the keyword's popularity.
Video editors will have to fight harder than ever before in 2023, and that means paying attention to trends, investing in ASA, and in organic visibility.
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4. The Numbers Behind Elon's Blue Check Are...
I've been looking at Twitter's mobile revenue ever since Blue came out last year, but it really kicked into high gear in November, when the blue check for all (who pay) rolled out. I looked at those numbers a few weeks ago.
The real question is, was that hype or did those subscribers continue to pay in December?
Yes, that's the simple answer.
Looking at revenue estimates for Twitter we can see the original spike when Blue checks rolled out, which added more than 50,000 new subscribers. By far the most new subscribers Twitter has ever seen. And that was just one day.
A month later we see the spike is lower, meaning some of those subscribers didn't continue, but it's still very high. According to our estimates, roughly 40,000 subscribers continued their Blue subscription. That's fairly standard considering other apps that were not very controversial, like Snapchat, saw a similar path.
But what's more important here is long-term growth. Looking at the trend, Twitter's daily in-app revenue has doubled since the new Blue. In numbers, non-spike days are now seeing around $25K daily where that total was around 12K just a few months ago.
Monthly, November and December are going to end up pretty similar, even with all controversy.
Now... Before you tell me of all the things wrong with Twitter right now, technical or ideological, which I'm sure you will, I'll tell you that I'm fairly certain Twitter isn't going away any time soon. Turbulence is part of its evolution, and won't be the first time (remember the dickbar?).
I don't know when the dust will settle, but when (and not if) it does, in-app revenue will continue to be a great opportunity for the platform.
5. More Drivers Joined Uber in 2022 than Ever Before
Have you been using Uber more during the pandemic? I know I certainly did (Lyft, too), but while that's up new users aren't. Well, they are and aren't both at the same time.
One of the things I keep an eye out for is downloads of IRL apps now vs pre-pandemic. Uber is one of those.
While apps like Airbnb and Ticketmaster have returned – and beat – pre-pandemic downloads levels, Uber hasn't. Yet. Not globally at least.
But the trend is going in the right direction. Which, oddly enough, is up where pre-pandemic it wasn't.
That's good news.
Downloads of Uber's app, a proxy for riders, decreased by 7% between 2018 and 2019. We're still looking at more than 100 million new riders though.
But then covid forced mobility to stop and Uber's downloads got cut down by a lot! At the same time, Uber became a safer mode of transportation for those who had to get places. Downloads dropped to 74 million.
they've been growing since, up 14% in 2021 and another 12% in 2022, ending up above the 100 million mark once again.
We're still not at 2019 levels, about 12 million downloads shy of that, but the trend is looking healthy and will probably get back to those levels in 2023. Unless Uber does something really silly.
But there's an even more interesting trend. Drivers!
Even though many have been yelling at Uber to treat drivers better, more and more are drivers are joining the platform.
2022 saw the most new drivers joining, more than any other year.
We know that by looking at download estimates for the Uber Driver app as a proxy.
According to our App Intelligence, downloads are up 38% when compared to 2018. In more absolute numbers, 9 million more drivers joined in 2022. A total of 33 million up from 24 million.
Like riders, drivers also slowed down in 2020 and then grew in 2021 and 2022. But drivers, unlike riders, are moving to work by app more than ever before, a trend we're seeing happen across the entire industry.
Uber's stock isn't seeing a similar trend, but I think that has more to do with its legacy than its current performance.
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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.