This Week in Apps - How Big Was the Summer for Apps and Games?

Ariel Ariel
7 minute read 9/8/23

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
442.02 +3.9%
Google Play
255.00 -14.2%

Insights

1. The Summer Rush Resulted in a 67% Increase in Downloads for Netflix's Games

Netflix is primarily known for its streaming service, but a few years ago, Netflix got into the mobile game space. It started with a handful of games, but as of this summer, Netflix had 75 games available for download on the App Store in Google Play!

In July and August, downloads grew 67% vs. pre-summer, thanks to the summer rush and to new titles rolling out.

Let's have a look at the numbers.

Netflix currently has 75 games on the App Store and Google Play right now with versions for the App Store and Google Play. Of those, 12 were released this summer (between June and September).

According to our estimates, all of Netflix's games saw 3.6M downloads in August from the App Store and Google Play. That's a bit less than July's 3.9M haul, but that's consistent with the entire category.

So far in 2023, the games saw a total of 22.7M downloads, according to our estimates.

THTH: Love Is a Game NETFLIX, SpongeBob: Get Cooking, and Bloons TD 6 NETFLIX were the most downloaded games this year. All adding more than a million downloads to that total. 5 titles earned more than a million downloads and 34 between 100K and 1M.

But... And there's a but.

The recent increase came after months of stagnation. The games were still getting millions of downloads before the summer, but overall those downloads were fairly flat.

Netflix can promote its games, and it does that right in the app everyone knows, but when you look at every new Netflix game, you'll see the same pattern - lots of downloads for a few weeks which then drop sharply and stay low for a while. That means something is missing.

I'm sure Netflix will figure it out. Until they do, they own enough IP to continue rolling out new titles.

2. Snapchat's In-App Revenue Grew Double Digits in August

Snapchat+, Snap's now year-old in-app revenue stream, has hit its highest month of revenue in August, up more than 12% month over month and up 250% since rolling out last July.

Not sure what Snapchat sells in its app? Snapchat+ started as early access to features and over the last few months matured into an offering resembling Twitter Blue/X Premium. There's a badge, better insight into stories, and a few other features.

That's a smart move by Snap!

Interestingly enough, Snapchat+ is earning Snap much more than X Premium is earning X.

Snapchat Plus earned $17.9M in August from the App Store and Google Play, according to our estimates. And that's net, which means what Snap gets to keep after Apple and Google take their share.

That's Snapchat's biggest month of revenue to date, and marks a 12% increase from July, which was also bigger than June, which was also bigger than May. I can keep going, but that'd be a lot of writing.

Snapchat+ is on a great trajectory for growth, far outpacing all other platforms that are doing the same. The addition of a badge, something Plus didn't start out with, is really helping with growth.

Social platforms monetizing users directly was an experiment last year but as the numbers grow it's proving to be a much more serious revenue stream. It's still not getting close to ads, but it won't take long for the two to be closer.

3. Goodbye Threads - The Most Downloaded Mobile Apps in August

August was a good month for downloads. Well, for everyone but Threads.

We crunched the numbers and ranked the top 10 mobile apps by downloads in August worldwide.

TikTok was the most downloaded app in the world in August with 54M fresh new downloads from the App Store and Google Play, according to our App Intelligence.

TikTok regained the lead from Instagram, which kept the spot warm since last December!

Instagram came in second with 52M downloads in August. I wonder if Threads stole some momentum from Instagram.

Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram round out the top 5. Facebook and WhatsApp have held their positions for quite a while, but Telegram has been rising up the ranks consistently over the last few months and finally made it into the top 5 with 25M new downloads.

A Rising Star

Now here's a new one - Temu, which dominates the App Store charts normally but has never made it into the overall chart, has finally made it into the overall chart.

Coming in 8th in August with 22M downloads, Temu has been growing its downloads on Google Play. In 2023, Temu's downloads from Google Play rose by more than 500%. I expect they'll continue to grow as we head into the holiday season.

And it's worth mentioning that Threads is still getting downloads, but not nearly as many as before. We estimate Threads was downloaded 19M times in August between the App Store and Google Play, and the downloads were split almost down the middle.

Together, the top 10 most downloaded apps in the world saw 318M new downloads in August from the App Store and Google Play in August, according to our estimates. That's substantially lower than July's total, but only because of Threads. Removing threads from the equation, August was just a tad bit lower than July, which is expected.


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4. China's Growing - The Most Downloaded Mobile Games in August

I crunched the numbers and ranked the top mobile games in the world by downloads for the month of August, and can you guess who's still in the lead?

Subway Surfers continues its mega run as the most downloaded mobile game in the world! Our estimates show it was downloaded 20M times in August. That's enough to rank it in both individual lists as well.

Royal Match came in second with 15M downloads, according to our estimates. Royal Match has been inching its way up the list over the last few months, moving from 4th place in June to 3rd in July and now 2nd in August. Let's see if it can maintain the spot.

Roblox dropped into third place with 15M downloads, but the real surprise this August is Candy Crush, which dropped all the way down to 9th place. Candy Crush ended August with 11M downloads.

The new sheriff of downloadtown, Monopoly Go, continued its amazing streak and came in 6th on the overall chart and 1st on the App Store chart. The game has been growing exceptionally fast and the trend doesn't look to be changing any time soon.

China's Dominance

Another trend that's important to watch is the number of China-only games making their way into the App Store list, which started in July with two titles which became 3 in August.

The last time we saw a China-only title on the list was back in December of 2022.

The reason I find this interesting is because these games are getting more downloads in China than other games get worldwide. And China understands its scale which is why it's closing its stores for non-Chinese developers now.

This isn't a newsletter about international policy, but seeing Temu's and TiTok's success in the US, I wonder if China's move to prevent non-Chinese companies from offering apps and games in its app stores is predatory or simply a negotiation tactic.

Together, the top 10 most downloaded mobile games in the world drew 134M new downloads in August, according to our estimates. While a bit lower than July's, this total is still higher than before the summer.

5. Education Goes In App - The Biggest Back to School for Classdojo

The pandemic pushed a lot of otherwise physical school-related activities to the web and mobile, and during covid that was the only way to do it. But even though that's mainly behind us, education apps have been seeing stronger back-to-school seasons consistently.

2023 has been the best year so far and a good example of this trend is Classdojo's revenue.

Classdojo is a platform for teachers and parents to connect. The platform is free but has a Plus in-app purchase that unlocks a combination of features for parents that feel a bit all over the place.

Well, those features are a massive success because, since 2020, Classdojo's revenue has grown 1,000%.

Looking at ClassDojo's revenue trend, it's clear September is the app's biggest month of revenue. Over the last two years, August was also a massive month and since September just started, I compared August of every year.

In 2020, Classdojo saw $736K in August, according to our estimates. And that's net, which means what Classdojo gets to keep after giving Apple and Google their share. 2021 doubled to $1.4M. And that's from the App Store and Google Play together.

2022 was a whole other thing. Net revenue in August climbed to $5.8M and in 2023, August ended with $7.8M, according to our App intelligence.

We expect September to be ever bigger.

This is another good example of just how many opportunities things going in-app is presenting. I hope you're taking advantage of this!

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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