This Week in Apps - Faaaaast

Ariel Ariel
9 minute read May. 24

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
436.61 -1.6%
Google Play
274.77 -6.2%

Insights

1. F1's Mobile App Posts Best Quarter of Revenue Ever

One of the biggest trends to come out of lockdowns is sports moving to stream via app, and almost every sport has been affected by this. I say almost because I'm not on top of bowling much these days.

Formula 1 racing is one sport that has not only been affected but has also risen to the occasion, focusing on streaming to a crowd stuck at home.

Aside from the main benefit of being able to give fans what they wanted without breaking lockdowns, investing in streaming helped F1 racing grow in an unexpected way - to the US (where the money is)!

England-based F1 and its cool cars weren't very popular in the US pre-covid. The F1 Group, which owns the sport, tried to bring it into the US a few times since things kicked off in the 50s but without much success. Maybe it was too complicated, or maybe NASCAR and Indy were enough. It's hard to tell.

But the combination of a perfectly timed Netflix documentary called Drive to Survive, F1's streaming, and way too much free time, led to growing popularity in the US.

That popularity eventually brough the F1 Grand Prix to Miami and later Las Vegas, making it official - the US embraces F1.

That wasn't all, though. Let's talk about revenue.

Looking all the way back to the app's release in 2018, our App Intelligence is showing quarterly net revenue of $45K in Q3. In a year, revenue rose by nearly 10x to kick off 2020 with $418K in Q1.

No, this isn't a lot yet, but hang tight!

As F1 was catching on and the streams improving, revenue continued to rise giving F1 TV nearly a million dollars of net revenue in Q1 of 2021. Things sped up from there to $3M in Q1 of 2022 and a whopping $10M in Q1 of 2023.

Guess where a majority of that revenue is from? The US!

Q1 of 2024 saw F1's highest revenue - $14M, according to our estimates. And that's net revenue which means what the group gets to keep after store fees. Although revenue came in from nearly 100 countries, the US led the way with a 35% share.

I see this trend continuing its growth in the future - both F1 becoming more popular in the US and sports streaming becoming the way to consume sports.

2. Peloton's Mobile Revenue is (Finally) Growing Again

For Peloton, the last few years have been a mega rollercoaster ride. Demand for their workout bikes exploded when lockdowns sent everyone to work from home, but eventually the craze ended and Peloton had to pivot a bit.

That pivot involved shifting to monetizing its fitness classes and workout videos through a paid subscription in its app.

And it worked pretty well for a while.

Looking back all the way to Q1 of 2020, when things were simpler, Peloton's app earned $1.4M in net revenue, according to our estimates. Not bad considering the app was mainly an extension of its hardware and the in-app purchases available through the app were for integrations and minimal content.

Even so, revenue grew as more people got hooked on Peloton's high-end (aka expensive) workout bikes, rising to nearly $7M by Q1 of 2021. And it didn't stop there.

By the beginning of 2022, Peloton figured out its app is a revenue channel and shifted its strategy. As a result, the app received a ton of new content in the form of a variety workout classes that didn't require owning a bike.

And the new strategy worked! According to our App Intelligence, Peloton hit a new all-time high in Q1 of 2022 with $11M of net revenue and its first quarter in the double digits. And this is all net, meaning what Peloton is keeping after Apple and Google took their fees.

But things went downhill from there... Shifting to content meant there's a loooot of competition, and the rise in demand for workout at home apps "thanks" to lockdowns didn't help either.

Our estimates show revenue dropped for the first time to $9M in Q3, then $8M in Q4, and then bounced back a tiny bit up to $9M to start 2023. Revenue inched up slowly in 2023, but things seem to have really kicked in this year.

Peloton ended Q1 of 2024 with $15M of net revenue thanks to a surge in demand in January. That's to be expected for the category, but for Peloton, revenue didn't drop back to where it started. According to our estimates, daily revenue is still 50% higher than the end of last year.

And there's more to grow. While this is a big number, there are quite a few apps in the Health & Fitness category that earn more than Peloton. The difference between those apps and Peloton is that it lacks discovery.

If you know about Peloton's app you might get it, but if you come into the App Store or Google Playing looking for a fitness app you simply won't. See for yourself. That's a mistake I hope to see Peloton correct.

3. Demand for Marketplace Apps Like eBay and OfferUp is Down Double-Digits

I'm old enough to remember the early days of eBay. Everyone was bidding on everything, and it was all very exciting. I was too young to bid back then, but it seemed like the marketplace for anything.

For years, eBay thrived, especially before online shopping (and eventually mobile shopping) really took off. Lately, it hasn't.

The online garage sale platform turned into a simple buy/sell marketplace that lost its uniqueness and was now competing with every other commerce platform, and the downloads show a trend that's not great for eBay and marketplaces like it.

According to our estimates, demand for eBay and OfferUp, a similar app launched back in 2011, are down significantly - 30% and 54%, respectively, since 2017, a year after Facebook opened its own marketplace.

Back in Q1 of 2017, eBay saw its app downloaded into 10M new devices, according to our estimates. In Q1 of 2024, that number dropped to 7M. Rival OfferUp went from 5M to just 2M in the same period.

The journey down was slow but pretty consistent...

You might think downloads dropped across the board and this is just normal, but that can't be true because while eBay and OfferUp were losing millions of new shoppers, fast fashion app SHEIN grew its downloads from 2M in Q1 of 2017 to 49M in Q1 of 2024!

Yes, SHEIN is not the same kind of a platform, but that's my point. Shopping became so much easier, and with to apps like SHEIN and Temu, much cheaper, making buy/sell platforms like eBay not as necessary.

I think eBay's strategy is also to blame for the drop in demand, as is the existence of Facebook's marketplace, but that's just my opinion. The real question is whether this is a trend these marketplaces can recover from, and the answer is probably not. It'd require too big of a shift in strategy and would require changing the platform massively. I just don't see eBay doing that.

There is one platform that didn't exactly disappear and that's Poshmark, which is a buy/sell marketplace focused on clothes. According to our estimate, its downloads didn't drop massively. They even rose a touch, 10% since 2017, but that's not enough to write home about.


Grow Smarter, with Data.

Affordable tools for ASO, Competitive Intelligence, and Analytics.


4. The Short Dramas Trend Might Be Over Already

Short drama streaming apps, which do exactly what it sounds like, became the hottest trend in the App Store and on Google Play in late 2023. Lots of them sprouted in what felt like an overnight takeover earning enough downloads to creep up the top app charts for both downloads and revenue.

We published a report on short drama apps last month in case you're curious about the numbers - they're huge - $65M in gross revenue in March, up more than 10,000% year over year!

What goes up must come down, and short drama apps are not immune...

According to our estimates, the most popular app in the group, ReelShort, has seen downloads drop more than 80% since its peak back in November. Our estimates show 285K weekly downloads in the first week of May, down from 1.6M in early November.

In May, downloads from ReelShort's biggest contributor of downloads, the US, dropped by nearly a half, from 825K in April to 476K in May. India, Mexico, and the Philippines were on a similar trend but with even more shocking drops.

Our estimates show downloads in India dropped 95%, 78% in Mexico, and 40% in the Philippines.

Ouch!

Revenue wasn't immune to this trend either. Our App Intelligence is showing it stopped growing after peaking in April and has dropped nearly 27% since.

I was surprised to see this trend grow but am not surprised to see it decline. Having looked at the catalogs of the popular apps and the content they serve, I just don't see how it can compete with other streamers. It was fun while it lasted, I guess.

5. The WNBA App is at an All-Time High - Revenue, Too!

The WNBA is currently seeing an all-time high of downloads and revenue on the App Store and Google Play - at levels it's never seen before!

Downloads in the first 5(ish) months of 2024 are already higher than all of 2023 as well as 2016 - 2022 combined. I've got all the numbers below + a look at how we got here.

The WNBA app never truly managed to get a lot of traction with yearly downloads hovering around 50K, according to our estimates. Yes, just 50K for a whole year.

2023 changed that because in 2023 the WNBA overhauled their app, turning it into a true destination for women's basketball. And yes, they also started streaming games, following the trend of the NBA, NFL, F1, and many others.

The overhaul and streaming sent downloads up nearly 400% year over year. In more absolute terms, the app saw nearly 300K new downloads, according to our estimates.

Revenue followed. In 2023, net revenue - what's left after store fees - rose 37% to $318K, according to our estimates. Almost 3x higher than 2017.

But then Caitlin Clark got drafted by the Indiana Fever and things got even better. If you're not familiar, Caitlin Clark is one of the most, if not the most, popular female basketball player right now. She recently joined the WNBA, moving all of that excitement from the collegiate level to the big court.

And now that everyone can stream her games right from their phones, they are.

The WNBA app was downloaded nearly 500K times from the App Store and Google Play between January and May 25th, according to our estimates. We're not even five months in and downloads have already surpassed all of 2023's, which was already high. In fact, downloads in 2024 outpaced 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 combined.

And those downloads are engaged and active, contributing to an increase in net revenue of more than 150%. According to our estimates, users spent more than $1.2M in the app so far in 2024. That's a little more than $800K that the WNBA gets after store fees.

This isn't the first, or last, example of sports moving in-app. I remember how sports on TV improved over the years and can only imagine how streaming will improve thanks to this. And while this unexpected surge has led to technical difficulties, I don't expect it to slow down any time soon.

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.

Tagged: #

Related Resources

This Week in Apps - Sherlocked!
This Week in Apps
This Week in Apps - Sherlocked!

#211 - iOS 18 sherlocks $400M by making these apps unnecessary, BeReal's exit, the new walkie-talkie sensation, and the most popular games in the world in May.

This Week in Apps - It's Game Time
This Week in Apps
This Week in Apps - It's Game Time

#210 - Supercell's latest release is growing faster than its sibling and competitors, X's mobile revenue is on the decline, the most downloaded and highest-earning apps, and more.