This Week in Apps - Are Your Downloads Down?

Ariel Ariel
8 minute read 9/1/23

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
464.88 +11.0%
Google Play
227.91 -25.9%


1. Twitter's First Full Month as X is Also Its Highest in Mobile Revenue

August is behind us which means it's time to check in on Twitter's, I mean, X's revenue.

August was X's first full month as X and a lot has changed. Including revenue!

According to our App Intelligence, X brought in $5.8M of net revenue from the App Store and Google Play in August. That's the most the apps have ever earned the platform.

Comparing this to the pre-Elon days, revenue is now more than 10x higher!

Although revenue grew across both the App Store and Google Play in August, the majority of the increase came through the App Store and in the US.

Can you guess X's second-largest country by revenue? It's Japan.

This revenue growth means more Premium subscribers (what used to be Twitter Blue) and more subscribers. A win across the board.

Who do you think earns the most from subscriptions on X? Find out here.

August also brought something new to X as the platform is now paying creators. All you need is more than 5M post views in the last 90 days and you're getting paid - and the response has been a beautiful surprise.

I feel weird calling people tweeting "creators" but with longer posts and video becoming more prevalent, it's the case. And these payouts are drawing new creators to X. More creators = more content and more content = more engagement. See where I'm going with this?

When I first started following Twitter's revenue I knew this move would be very powerful. Now it's no longer a question of if but rather of how fast.

2. Are Your Downloads Down? You're Not the Only One...

The last few years have been very strange in the App Store, and if you've been reading the newsletter for long enough you probably know what I'm talking about.

Many apps are seeing downloads drop while revenue grows.

Are you seeing a similar trend?

Looking at individual apps isn't enough to call this a trend though, so instead, let's zoom out and take a look at the entire App Store in the US using the Mobile Market Index.

The Mobile Market Index tracks the downloads and revenue of the top 25 apps in every category and country and compares them to 1/1/2018. The result is a value that easily shows us growth over time without having to worry about very large numbers.

The Mobile Market Index is available for free to all members tracking their apps with Appfigures. You can read more about it here.

Let's start with downloads!

According to the Mobile Market Index, downloads are down across the App Store in the US.

Exactly a year ago, the Mobile Download Index stood at 91.87. That means downloads are already down vs. 2018, but not by that much. As of August 31st, the Index is at 83.59. That's 8.28 points, or 9%, lower than where it started.

Looking at the trend we see the way down wasn't smooth, though.

Downloads dropped until December, aka holiday season, brought back cheer, and new devices and downloads to the App Store. The rise was gone by April though as the Index dipped to as low as 64.50 points.

Downloads rose again into the summer, which makes sense considering this Index is for both apps and games.

Check out the Index directly if you're curious about your category.

Revenue looks veeeeeery different.

According to the Mobile Market Index, revenue is down across the App Store in the US.

A year ago, the Mobile Revenue Index stood at 363.13. That means revenue is higher, much higher, than where it was in 2018. As of August 31st, the Index is at 458.3. That's a whopping 122.17 points, or 36.4% higher than where it started.

Revenue growth has far outpaced the slowdown in downloads as more developers are focusing on monetization.

This growth was fairly consistent with a major bump in December to usher in higher revenue across the board.

Interestingly enough, the category that saw revenue grow the most over the last year is Productivity, rising 69.3%. On the games side, Board games took the crown rising 584.9%.

According to the Mobile Market Index, almost every category in the App Store saw revenue grow in the last year. Only four categories saw revenue shrink, all within games (Sports, Racing, Music, and Action).

How do your trends compare?

3. Instacart is Going Public - Is It Still In Demand?

Instacart, the gig economy's shopping app, has filed to go public.

If you haven't used the app, Instacart is like asking your friend to pick up milk, except it isn't your friend. The platform connects buyers, shoppers, and grocery stores and has gained a lot of momentum during lockdowns back in 2019.

Lockdowns are all gone and most of us are out and about these days, which makes me wonder - is Instacart still in demand?

We can look at usage trends but the real answer lies in new downloads, which show if the platform is growing or not.

Let's start at the top. According to our App Intelligence, Instacart saw 46M downloads since 2020 while its shopper app saw 22M downloads.

The App Store leads in share, with nearly double the downloads as the Android version. Although the app is also available in Canada, the US is by far Instacart's biggest market. A bit duh, but it could become a bigger market post IPO.

The road to 46M (and 22M) wasn't very simple though.

Instacart started 2019 with 343K downloads in January, according to our estimates. Those were fairly consistent all the way up to April of 2020, covid month, and downloads skyrocketed to 2.3M. That's nearly six times higher!

Although they dropped almost immediately, the new average was already twice that of 2019 and going into 2021 and 2022, it continued to rise peaking at 1.4M in December of 2022.

2023, the year things finally went back to normal, has not been as great for Instacart. Just average, I'd say. Downloads dropped after their peak in December, but are still much higher than 2019's with 964K downloads in August.

The shopper app, which is what the shoppers use to see their tasks and communicate with users followed a similar, yet lower, trend. The correlation leads me to believe that covid made Instacart into a household name but aggressive marketing is what's keeping demand for on both ends growing.

Looking at these trends I expect a rocky IPO, but I'm no financial advisor.

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4. ChatGPT's Mobile Revenue Grew 38% in August

ChatGPT's own mobile app has been out for several months now giving us a glimpse into how important it is to have a mobile app, even if your brand is already big.

By that I mean, let's see how much money OpenAI is earning right from the App Store and Google Play, and how that revenue is growing.

According to our App inteligence, ChatGPT ended August with $2.7M of net revenue. Its highest haul to date, and a 40% increase over July's total.

Although August was the first month to bring revenue from both the App Store and Google Play, the vast majority of the revenue came from the App Store. The US led the charge, contributing 56% of the total.

Germany, Japan, the UK, and France were behind the US contributing a combined total of 17%.

ChatGPT's long tail of revenue may not be very high but it is loooong, earning revenue from more than 80 countries in August.

OpenAI was a bit late to its own game which gave 3rd parties a head start. One notable example of this is Ask AI, one of the earliest and most aggressive ChatGPT clients, which is still making more money than the flagship app!

Other competitors aren't as lucky, but there are still countless apps launching, making it harder for ChatGPT to earn new users.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - for an AI app to succeed it needs to bring more features than an open-ended chat.

5. August Ended Disney+'s Longest Losing Run

Disney+'s revenue has generally been growing ever since it was introduced back in 2019.

This year, however, revenue started slumping, and for a while, it looked like it wasn't going to stop.

Well, it did in August.

After dropping for four consecutive months, its longest losing streak ever, Disney+'s monthly revenue from its mobile apps rose in August and outpaced July's.

Our App Intelligence shows Disney+ earned $81.5M of net revenue, that's _after Apple and Google took their cut, in August. August was the first month of growth since March.

Since 2020, Disney+ hasn't seen more than two months of decline as it grew its monthly revenue from its mobile apps by 371%.

If you're a fan of the mouse house, you shouldn't celebrate just yet. August has been a big month in terms of revenue for everything that has to do with kids - from apps to games and also streaming apps, so September may go back into the red.

Why? It's all about content!

Although there's a lot going on politically that's responsible for Disney's stock going down, I think the real drop is a result of Disney's content not being nearly as good now as it was just a few years ago and Disney+ not streaming content that's in movie theaters like it did during the pandemic.

I'm no Disney expert, but as a viewer, it seems like Disney is focusing on quantity over quality and trying to squeeze as much as they can out of their properties without expanding them. With so much choice for streaming, that's going to hurt growth.

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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