This Week in Apps - Still Growing

Ariel Ariel
7 minute read 8/25/23

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. Revenue Index (vs. 30 days ago)

App Store
480.67 +15.8%
Google Play
230.87 -22.4%


1. Is Pinterest Still Growing?

If you've ever been down the rabbit hole of wedding plans, recipe ideas, or DIY projects, you've probably encountered Pinterest. I remember hearing about Pinterest a lot more pre-covid, but now in 2023, I barely hear about it.

Dreamy photos and vision boards aside, is Pinterest still growing?

Pinterest kicked off 2018 with over 10 million downloads in January, according to our estimates. Downloads went up and down throughout 2018, dipping to nearly 7 million in April, but mostly hovered around the 8 to 9 million mark.

2019 saw a similar pattern but with slightly better numbers, and even crossed the 11 million download mark in December. A holiday boost, maybe?

Then came covid, which caused Pinterest's downloads to surge, peaking at a whopping 16.7 million in July, according to our estimates. That, however ended in 2020...

After the 2020 peak, Pinterest downloads have mostly been declining, never touching that July 2020 high again. However, despite the drop, the platform managed to stabilize its downloads in 2022 and get back to a growth trend similar to that of 2018 and 2019.

There are ups and downs, but the overall numbers haven't plummeted dramatically. For example, while January 2023 marked an impressive 13.8 million downloads, the numbers did drop to 12.6 million by June 2023 but then bounced back to nearly 14 million in July.

Back to the original question: Is Pinterest still growing? Yes.

Pinterest might not be experiencing the skyrocketing growth it once saw, but it's far from a sinking ship. In the fluctuating tides of social media relevance, Pinterest has managed to keep its boat steady, even if it's not sailing at full speed. The platform is still a go-to destination for millions each month, proving that while it might have passed its peak, it's certainly not over the hill.

2. Why is Evernote Raising Its Price Again?

If you're an App Store veteran like me, when you hear the name "Evernote" you think of the most popular note taking app in the App Store. If you don't know the name it's probably because Evernote's popularity is a thing of the past...

Since 2017, Evernote's monthly downloads dropped 88% in a trend that's clearly not stopping any time soon.

So, that's downloads. Revenue on the other hand, is following a very different trend.

Since 2021, Evernote's net revenue from the App Store and Google Play grew 64%.

According to our estimates, Evernote saw $1.6M of net revenue, that's after giving Apple and Google their fees, in July. And that was roughly 300K higher than the average of the three previous months.

Why so high? Evernote increased its subscription price and didn't grandfather any of its users which led to an immediate bump in revenue.

With downloads declining, one way companies could increase revenue is by charging their current users more. But... that comes at the cost of paying users churning.

Evernote must have seen that churn and figured an increase wouldn't hurt as much as it'd help. Although in the short term that seems to have been the case, the real question is how many users will stick around longer, and how much harder will it be to convert the decreasing amount of new users with the new prices.

I expect more apps to follow this trend because it leads to "easy money", but I suspect most of the apps who do that will find that in the long term, grandfathering existing users and increasing the prices only to new ones is a better way to grow.

3. Gmail's In-App Revenue Grew 179x Since 2021

Raise your hand if you've seen Gmail's paywall. I bet you haven't, but that doesn't mean Gmail isn't making money from its app.

Actually! Its in-app revenue has been growing steadily every single month since starting to monetize with in-app purchases in 2021.

According to our estimates, Gmail's net revenue from the App Store was $7.3M in July. And that's net, meaning what Google gets to keep after Apple takes its share.

Our estimates show that in January, that total was $5.1M and in January of 2022 it was just $1M. That means Gmail's net revenue grew 630% in the last year and a half!

And that's just from the App Store.

So, what is Gmail even selling? Space.

Gmail offers several subscriptions to grow your inbox, with the 100GB subscription being the most popular right now. This is a bit different than how it's done on Android, where purchases go through the Google One app, which has been the highest-earning app on Google Play for a very long time.

On the App Store, Google One makes some money, but not nearly as much.

There's one thing developers can learn from this, aside from the big brand name. The subscriptions Gmail is offering easily fall into the "features you need" category, making the purchasing decision pretty easy when the space is necessary.

Instead of forcing users to see your paywall when you want them to, find the features your users need and make sure they know they're there when they actually need them. That's how you'll convert them into paying users.

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4. Threads Came and Went but Remini Stayed - The Most Downloaded Apps in July

July was a mostly normal month in downloads with one big exception - Threads.

I ranked the most downloaded apps in the world in July and things are... interesting.

Threads was, by far, the most downloaded app in the world in July. The timing of its launch and Meta's influencer campaign drove more than 163M downloads in July, according to our estimates with the bulk of the downloads coming during launch week.

FYI - While our machine learning is very good at understanding fast risers, estimating such a meteoric rise accurately is nearly impossible, which means our figures are likely to be on the conservative side.

Threads was hot for just a moment but lost much of its momentum within a week or so. Downloads dropped considerably until a new push from Meta in August brought it back up the charts. I expect to see Threads in next month's list, but not in the lead.

TikTok was the second most-downloaded app in the world in July with 55M combined downloads from the App Store and Google Play, according to our estimates. Instagram was right behind it with 54M estimated downloads, flipping June's ranks.

Facebook and WhatsApp round out the top 5, just like last month.

It's worth noting that Remini, the AI photo app that went viral on TikTok in July, made all three lists as it made its way into 23M new devices, according to our estimates. Aside from that, the lists are fairly similar to June's.

We estimate that the 10 most downloaded apps in the world generated 490M downloads in July. This total includes Threads, which I consider to be an anomaly, so keep that in mind in case you're comparing this to last month's total.

5. Summer is For Games - The Most Downloaded Games in July

I crunched the numbers and ranked the most downloaded mobile games in the world in July. Like my analysis of global game revenue, we see two China-only titles in our ranks.

But let's start at the top.

Subway Surfers was, again, the most downloaded game in the world in July. It made its way into 22M devices, according to our estimates. I don't even remember how many times I opened with this line - what an incredible achievement for the 11 year old title.

Roblox was the second most downloaded game in the world in July, just like in June, followed by Royal Match. Candy Crush dropped one spot in July to third, but still saw more downloads in July.

The rest of the list is a bit different than June, which is a good sign of things moving. Ludo King dropped a couple of spots, My Talking Tom is back, and Monopoly Go finally made the combined list.

Monopoly Go has been rising quickly in both revenue and downloads, and is now the highest-earning title in the US App Store beating all apps and games. You may say it's the result of a whole bunch of ads, and you won't be wrong, but those downloads lead to revenue - and that you can't buy.

Our estimates show that the top 10 most downloaded games in the world made their way into 140M devices in July. That's a 15% increase from June and a solid reminder that summer is for games.

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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