This Week in Apps - Not Over Yet

Ariel Ariel
7 minute read 6/16/23

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. Downloads Index (Last 30 Day)

App Store
70.57 -5.3%
Google Play
52.75 +1.4%


1. Zoom's Mobile Revenue Hits a Big Milestone

Zoom is one app that needs no introduction. During the pandemic, Zoom's downloads grew faster than any other app, and once it became the most-downloaded app, it didn't leave the position for a very long time.

The pandemic is behind us, and Zoom's downloads have since subsided, but all of those downloads are now finally being translated into something better - paying users!

Last July, Zoom rolled out Zoom One Pro, a bundle of features to expand Zoom.

It took the app a little while to grow, but it ended May with the highest monthly revenue to date and also hit a milestone. I think the most appropriate thing to say here is Zoooooooooooooom.

Did you get the reference?

Zoom's milestone was a big one. In May, Zoom's in-app net revenue from the App Store crossed a million dollars for the first time since the new subscription was released.

In fact, according to our App Intelligence, Zoom earned $1.2M of net revenue! And that's what Zoom gets to keep after giving Apple its share.

It was close in April with $975K of net revenue, according to our estimates. It rose 23% to cross the new milestone.

In total, Zoom earned $4.6M of net revenue from the App Store since launching Zoom One Pro in July of 2022.

This revenue is global, and unlike other apps that are heavily earning from the US, for Zoom, the US contributed 34%. That's a hefty amount, but not as large as you'd expect for a productivity/business tool. I expected twice that much.

Japan, UAE, Canada, and Brazil complete the top 5 contributors. Together with the US, the top 5 countries add up to a little more than 50% of Zoom's revenue, which amounts to about $2.5M of net revenue.

The complete list is long and stretches all the way down to Nepal and Yemen, which together earned Zoom about $1,000.

This type of distribution for revenue on the App Store is not common, but of all apps, this could be expected from an app as prolific as Zoom.

2. ChatGPT Lags Behind 3rd Party Apps

I've been getting a lot of questions about whether ChatGPT's release will end all 3rd party apps. Now that the official ChatGPT app has been out for a few weeks, I can share more than just my opinion.

If you missed that, you can give it a read here. It's still relevant.

First, let's talk about the environment ChatGPT entered.

I took the top three 3rd party ChatGPT apps, Ask AI, Genie, and Chat AI and followed their revenue on a weekly basis before and after ChatGPT's release. And this is all focused on the App Store because ChatGPT isn't available for Android just yet.

In early May, just before the official release, the three were earning $92K, $511K, and $805K, respectively according to our estimates. And that's all net, meaning what the developers keep after Apple takes its share.

Clearly, there's a king of AI right now and that's Ask AI, but keep in mind, this is weekly revenue, so they're all winners in my book.

ChatGPT rolled out and in its first week earned $164K. Very respectable! The competition stayed fairly the same.

The following week, ChatGPT's net revenue more than doubled to $446K, and that's where we also start seeing competitors dropping a bit. A little for Ask AI and a lot for Genie.

But then ChatGPT's growth slowed down. The hype was over and fast forward to last week, the numbers were interestingly different.

Ask AI's revenue grew to $847K, Genies dropped to $296K, and Chat AI rose a tiny bit to $98K. ChatGPT's revenue dropped to $278K.

That's a lot of data - what does it all mean?

3rd party apps aren't dead. Not by a long shot! The masses have yet to really equate ChatGPT's app with all the ChatGPT hype on mobile. Which is ironic, but the numbers make that very clear.

With the exception of Genie, which was on a decline even before ChatGPT rolled out, demand for AI apps is continuing to grow.

I said this before and I think it's still relevant - ChatGPT is amazing, but most people don't know how to use it. The evolution is tools that use ChatGPT.

3. Turo is the Most Downloaded Car Rental App Right Now

Summertime means travel time. And wouldn't it be nicer to travel in class?

Turo, the Airbnb of car rentals, offers exactly that. Luxury and fun rides, rented by owners, for prices everyone can afford.

I tried it, and it really works!

Such a combo sounds like the perfect way to kick off the summer, and looking at the downloads, that's exactly what's happening.

Turo started the year with 110K downloads in the first week of January, according to our estimates, and has been rising since.

Weekly downloads spiked in February, rising to 141K, and then again in mid-May, all the way up to 181K per week for two straight weeks - aligning with long weekends. They've dropped a bit in the last week, down to 160K, but still 45% higher than January.

Turo isn't the only car rental app out there, but it's by far the most downloaded. On-demand competitors Zipcar and Getaround get less than a tenth of the downloads it sees, and traditional apps are not very different.

Hertz and Enterprise, the two most downloaded traditional rental apps, when added together, still see fewer downloads than Turo. To get closer, we need to combine the downloads for Sixt and Avis, the next two down the list.

Having used Turo before, the app itself leaves a lot to be desired, but it's hard to say no to a car you'd only see in a movie...

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4. Telegram Hits $14M Since Starting to Moentize

Telegram has been monetizing its app for a year now, following moves from other social platforms like Twitter and Snapchat, which are starting to charge for features to generate more revenue from its free users.

I looked at both over the last few weeks (here and here), so it's time to look at Telegram, the third platform to do this.

Telegram isn't exactly a social platform, but it's monetizing a large user base that's used t getting everything for free, which puts it in the same category.

May wasn't Telegram's best month of revenue, but it wasn't too far off. According to our estimates, Telegram brought in $1.9M of net revenue from the App Store. That's a small increase from April but a big increase from last year.

Telegram's biggest month of revenue was February, where net revenue from the App Store spiked to $2.3M, and that's net, so what Telegram got to keep after giving Apple its share.

The spike marked a shift in Telegram's revenue, and while growth since has been slow, it's much higher than in 2022.

A year in, our estimates show Telegram has earned $14M from the App Store. Most of the revenue did not come from the US but rather from Russia. The US was right behind it.

Ukraine, China, and Hong Kong round out the top 5 countries by revenue for Telegram.

So far the big winner of the three platforms I've been following is Snapchat, with monthly revenue in the double-digits millions in May. Telegram has a lot more growing to do before it can get there, but it's on its way.

5. Life360's Revenue Grew 35% in May

I keep a close watch on the Top Grossing charts in the App Store and Google Play, always looking for risers. The list doesn't move nearly as much as you'd expect, so when an app travels up consistently, I know revenue has grown significantly.

The app driving this insight is Life360, a family tracker and private chat app that's been on the list for a long time. It's now at the highest rank it's ever been.

According to our app intelligence, Life360's mobile net revenue from the App Store grew 35% in May. In more absolute terms, it rose from $10M in April to $13.5M in May, the biggest month in revenue for the app.

Revenue came almost in its entirety from the US, which contributed 92% to the total. The UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan round out the top 5, but it's really all about the US for Life360.

Unlike revenue, downloads have fluctuated a lot. So far in 2023, downloads are down a bit when compared to January. Not enough to be alarming but enough to say they're down.

Downloads going down while revenue goes up is an interesting trend I've shown a few times in the last few months. Subscriptions are to thank for this, but beyond just having a subscription, a good portion of growth will come from optimizing how you offer it, when you offer it, and its price.

If you're monetizing with subscriptions, make sure you're always optimizing those. I'd do it in that order, but you don't have to as long as you're optimizing.

App Intelligence for Everyone!

The insights in this report come right out of our App Intelligence platform, which offers access to download and revenue estimates, installed SDKs, and more! Learn more about the tools or schedule a demo with our team to get started.

Are you a Journalist? You can get access to our app and market intelligence for free through the Appfigures for Journalists program. Contact us for more details.

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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