This Week in Apps - Growing Fast

Ariel Ariel
7 minute read May. 3

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 (30 Day)

App Store
483.85 +6.7%
Google Play
291.06 -2.5%


1. Music + Widgets = Downloads

You know what I haven't seen in a while on the App Store? A widget making it to the top of the charts.

Scrolling through the top charts this week, however, I found a potential candidate. And if it does that, I don't think it'll be there for a short time because the idea is pretty interesting.

Airbuds, not to be confuse with Airchat, is the app and its promise is simple - install it and you'll always know what others are playing. Sounds pretty simple.

Its downloads have been on the rise since the end of 2023, after a few spikes in 2022 and a fairly stagnant 2023.

According to our estimates, Airbuds' weekly downloads started at 51K early in 2024 and maxed out at 156K last week.

The majority of the downloads are coming from the App Store. This year, 1.3M downloads came from the App Store and 215K downloads came from Google Play, according to our estimates.

Country-wise, the US is the leader followed by the UK and Canada.

This growth is great but the numbers are still somewhat small. However, if Airbuds catches on it could get there.

2. TikTok's Other Other App, Lemon8, Double!

Last week I looked at TikTok's other app - Capcut - as the talk of TikTok getting banned in the US intensify and CapCut will go with it if (or when) that happens.

But, did you know TikTok has another other app that's somewhat popular in the App Store? That's Lemon8, a social network that merges Pinterest and Instagram where influencers ...

Many don't associate Lemon8 with TikTok because it isn't published by ByteDance, TikTok's owner, but instead through another company it holds.

So, how popular is Lemon8? For starters, it's currently ranked #39 in the US App Store across all apps and games (see for yourself), and has been roaming around the same rank for the last few months.

In terms of downloads, our App Intelligence shows Lemon8 ended April with 1.9M downloads and a similar number for March. The last six or so months have been great for Lemon8's downloads after a slow and steady rollout.

Our estimates show Thailand and Japan have brought the most downloads for Lemon8 since launch with 9.3M and 9.2M downloads, respectively. Vietnam and the US are tied with 6.9M estimated downloads each.

What's interesting is that both leaders show the same trend - downloads across both platforms are pretty even. None of the other countries are like that. Balanced downloads tend to mean heavy ad spend, so not seeing this in the US could explain why it isn't in the lead.

In total, Lemon8 was downloaded 37 million times from the App Store and Google Play, according to our estimates. I expect to see more of Lemon8 as it finds its way in the US. That is, if it gets to stay.

3. Will X Really Charge Every User? Its Revenue Growth May Hold the Answer

Elon Musk almost confirmed that soon, X will require a paid subscription in order to post on the platform. This is something he talked about last year and even tried in (New Zealand).

The reasoning behind this move is to stop bots, but given X's active user base and X's money troubles, there could be more to this.

The subscription is expected to cost just $1/mo. but even at that, if only 10% of its 120M active users subscribe, it'll already more than double its current monthly revenue from its mobile apps.

According to our estimates, X ended April with $8M of net revenue from the App Store and Google Play - but mostly from the App Store. That's a tad lower than March's haul. Not by enough to notice, but as the saying goes, not moving forward is moving back, and that's a problem for the company after losing many advertisers.

Since the beginning of 2023, 16 months ago, X's mobile revenue generally rose month over month with only 5 months of drops scattered around.

Some may look at the trend and consider X's revenue to have peaked, and that could explain why it'd want another way to earn revenue from its active users.

As a user, I think stopping bots should be a top priority for the platform, but gating posting will really hurt its usage and send people looking for an alternative. And there are alternatives now.

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4. Demand for Airbnb is At an All-Time High in 2024

Airbnb is having a great quarter! The best quarter!

I've used Airbnb over the last few years as a proxy to "things getting back to normal" post-lockdowns, and its downloads as the proxy to its success.

During lockdown downloads dipped very low - but that's all done now.

In 2024, demand for Airbnb is now at an all-time high. According to our estimates, Airbnb's monthly downloads have doubled since 2018 from 8M to 16M. This is after downloads dropped to under 5M during covid and didn't get to double digits until 2022.

One other interesting bit is that downloads from Google Play are now on par with downloads from the App Store - and that's only started happening in the last few quarters.

The US accounts for the majority of downloads with 62M estimated downloads followed by Brazil with 24M and China with 15M. And keep in mind, the China downloads figure is only from the App Store because Google Play doesn't operate there.

Overall, this is great news for Airbnb and also for things going back to normal. Correction - Things are better than normal at this point.

And that reminds me of the rivalry between Airbnb and Vrbo, its clone. Every summer we see Verbo beat Airbnb for a few months as the platform that's owned by Expedia attempts to take market share.

While Vrbo's downloads have tripled since 2018, overall, it's still small in comparison. Our estimates show it was downloaded 3.4M times from the App Store and Google Play in Q1 of 2024. That's nearly a fifth of Airbnb's downloads. So, Airbnb is still the king!

5. Dating Apps are Growing Fast - But Not the Ones You Expect

Dating apps Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge are some of the highest earning apps in the US App Store having been in the top 15 earners for years!

That means they're making a lot of money, but revenue isn't growing nearly as fast as it used to.

I don't doubt there's more growth here, but it seems that users may be looking for something else…

A new class of dating apps have seen revenue rise drastically in the last year(ish) - exclusive dating apps. The kind you need to be approved to join.

Disclaimer - there are many dating apps that target a specific demographic (by skin color, sexual orientation, and there's even one for farmers). I'm not talking about those because they're pretty specific.

According to our App Intelligence, Raya, The League, Inner Circle, and Luxy are currently the leading exclusive dating apps in terms of revenue. And because Raya is only available on the App Store I'm limiting my comparison to the App Store.

The three have earned an estimated $119M of net revenue since the beginning of 2022 from the App Store - and net means after store fees so it's what those companies actually get from Apple and Google. $7M of that came in April alone.

Trend-wise, the smallest, Luxy, doubled its revenue in that period. The biggest, Raya, saw revenue explode 13x.

Luxy started 2022 with 248K of net revenue in January and ended April of 2024 with $584K of net revenue. Raya's revenue rose from $323K in January of 22 to $4M in April, according to our estimates.

The US is the biggest driver of revenue for all but Inner Circle, which gets its revenue from Brazil and the Netherlands. All four are earning internationally, though.

Given the proliferation of dating apps at this point and combined with how most singles have forgotten how to talk to strangers, this makes sense.

That's why Bumble acquired Fruitz Back in 2022. I expect to see more of this Goliath acquiring David in the next few years, making dating apps a potential gold mine for investors - just like 2015!

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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