This Week in Apps - Growing Fast

Ariel Ariel
8 minute read 7/28/23

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 (vs 30 days ago)

App Store
82.90 +14.9%
Google Play
51.19 -3.1%

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1. Pokemon Sleep Crosses 2,000,000 Downloads

Snorlax is a sleepy Pokemon and also the icon of a new app, not a game, that uses the Pokemon brand to track your sleeping habits.

Why sleep tracking?

Easy answer, and I bet you can guess what it is if you've been reading for a while - Money!

Let's have a look at Pokemon Sleep's launch and how it compares when it comes to revenue.

Pokemon Sleep rolled out several weeks ago and has already been downloaded 2M times, according to our estimates.

As an app, Pokemon Sleep feels like a fairly traditional sleep tracker with a very slow onboarding that's sure to annoy anyone who isn't into Pokemon. I read through it but only as research. But once you get through the intro, it offers the features you'd expect, directly competing with popular apps like ShutEye and Sleep Cycle.

Since its release, Pokemon Sleep has led in downloads and revenue.

After 10 days on the App Store and Google Play, Pokemon Sleep earned $686K of net revenue, which means what's left after Apple and Google take their fees.

ShutEye and Sleep Cycle earned $529K and $468K in the same 10-day period, respectively, according to our estimates.

The totals are similar but when looking at the trend, which started slow but rose to an average of more than $120K/day vs. $45K/day for the competitors, it's clear Pokemon Sleep is now the leader.

The real question is whether Pokemon Sleep is taking away market share from those competitors or if it will grow by catering to Pokemon fans.

2. TikTok is Testing a New Music Service - Should Spotify be Concerned?

Surprise surprise, TikTok is getting into the music streaming business!

Earlier this month, ByteDance soft launched TikTok Music in Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Australia, and Singapore.

TikTok Music seems to be Spotify and more! Users can stream music, comment on songs, listen to viral music from TikTok directly, and even download songs. Like Spotify Premium and Apple Music.

And all of that starts at $8.99/mo. with a 3-month trial, which is lower than Apple Music and Spotify.

But! TikTok Music isn't a new concept. In fact, ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, has been operating a similar music app by the name of Resso Music in India and Indonesia since 2019. Resso Music has been downloaded more than 200M times since release, according to our estimates.

TikTok Music, which launched on July 6th, has already been downloaded 950K times, according to our estimates.

Brazil is TikTok Music's biggest source of downloads, with 552K so far. Resso is available in Brazil but is about to get replaced by TikTok Music soon as Resso is going away.

TikTok Music could grow more globally than Resso. In addition to giving ByteDance access to a much larger paying audience can also bring ByteDance back to India, where the flagship TikTok app is banned. TikTok Music isn't available in India at the moment but Resso is and that's what makes me think TikTok Music will as well.

Once TikTok Music gets to the US it is sure to challenge Spotify, Apple Music, and others. All have recently raised prices, and Spotify's battle with Apple over fees is making it harder to become a paying subscriber on the iPhone, a weakness TikTok can avoid.

I wonder if Apple will start treating TikTok differently now.

3. Fast Fashion SHEIN Wants to IPO

Fast fashion retailer SHEIN had an amazing 2023 in terms of revenue and that's making some think it will be going public soon. And you can tell demand is on the rise because it's getting more popular on the App Store and Google Play.

Right now, SHEIN is the 8th most downloaded app in the US App Store and 4th on Google Play - higher than Instagram, YouTube, and even TikTok!

This rank is a result of downloads growing consistently over time, and this January the growth was massive. Downloads in January of this year rose 48% from 2022's downloads to 17.5M, according to our estimates. February, March, and all other months this year have been higher than last year!

That's not all. Downloads hit a new all-time high in May with 20M new downloads from the App Store and Google Play, according to our estimates.

The majority of downloads are coming from Google Play, where Brazil, Mexico, and the US are the largest markets for SHEIN, contributing 48% of all downloads. On the App Store, downloads are mainly coming from the US, Brazil, and Japan which contributed 42% of all downloads this year.

In the first half of 2023, SHEIN's app was downloaded 106M times from the App Store and Google Play. That's the same as the populations of Australia, Greece, and Portugal, combined!

And that's also 22% higher than the first half of 2022. A good time to go public.

Another thing I found interesting while digging into SHEIN was the number of keywords across its Apple Search Ads campaigns. According to our ASA Intelligence, SHEIN is paying for more than 10K keywords on the App Store which span brands they sell, competitors, a slew of generic words (like "she") and a variety of ways to describe a shopping app (including "shopping mall").

That's to say, this growth isn't free or cheap.

But SHEIN has to hurry up because TikTok is getting into the shopping business next month.

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4. Monopoly GO's Revenue Doubles in July Hitting Record Highs

Monopoly Go is one of the fastest-growing mobile games right now. If you're not familiar, Monopoly Go is a mobile version of the ageless game of Monopoly but with social features.

The game has seen downloads grow at a rapid pace from day one, which I'd expect from a company like Scopely, but what's more amazing is the speed at which revenue is growing.

I wrote about it when it came out in April noting its growth, but when I saw it at the top of the US App Store's grossing list I just had to look at it again and the numbers are just massive!

Monopoly Go earned its first $1M of net revenue from the App Store and Google Play during launch week. It took it 3 more days to reach the $2M mark, 2 more days to $3M, and after a total of 16 days, the game reached $5M in net revenue.

At the end of May, the game started earning $1M of net revenue every day, and earlier in July, Monopoly Go crossed the $2M per day mark.

And we're not talking monopoly money here.

I wasn't surprised to see Apple Search Ads being a component in the game's user acquisition strategy, and the scale is massive.

According to our Apple Search Ads Intelligence, the game appears in more than 11K paid keywords on the App Store. Like SHEIN, the keywords are really all over the place and include lots of similar games, misspellings, and a whole bunch of seemingly random keywords which may be a result of a broad match or smart match campaigns (like "adorable pets" and "make quiz").

According to our estimates, to date, all of this effort has earned Scopely $135M of net revenue. And while the App Store was responsible for more revenue, the distribution was much closer to half each than most other apps and games.

5. Which Countries Publish the Most Mobile Games?

I analyzed all of the mobile games on the App Store and Google Play to answer a simple question - which countries publish the most mobile games?

The US is probably everyone's guess, and it is, but it's not the only one. Let's find out where else games come from.

First, there are 746K mobile games on the App Store and Google Play right now. 70% of mobile games are on Google Play and the remaining 30% are on the App Store.

This difference is a testament to Apple's rigorous review process that rejects a lot of clones and low-quality games that Google Play doesn't.

US-based publishers lead the list with 33% of all the games on the App Store and Google Play right now. Not only is the US in the lead but it's also the only country with a double-digit share.

China comes in second with a 5% share. Most games published by Chinese companies target the Chinese market, but some have a global appeal. Genshin Impact is one of those.

Japan, Germany, and Russia round out the top 5 countries with the most games in the App Store and Google Play.

Together, the top 5 countries own 48% of all mobile games across both stores.

Curious how fast games are rolling out? In June, the App Store and Google Play welcomed 17K new games, the highest number of new releases per month so far this year.

4.4K of those came from US publishers with the remaining 13K apps coming in from publishers worldwide led by Germany with 440 new games.

We've seen a lot of viral successes over the last couple of years, but most (if not all) were apps and not games. Then we see games like Monopoly Go and you realize the opportunity to succeed with a mobile game is still there and bigger than ever.

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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