This Week in Apps - Trend Busting

Ariel Ariel
8 minute read Jun. 21

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
483.28 +11.5%
Google Play
266.38 -3.1%

Insights

1. GPT-4o Reversed the Trend for OpenAI and Delivered Its Biggest Month of Revenue

May was the biggest month ever for ChatGPT's mobile app. It reversed the decline in downloads and netted the app its biggest month of revenue, and pushed it across a new milestone.

All thanks to GPT-4o, OpenAI's newest model that's seemingly magical - even without ScarJo.

Let's have a look at both downloads and revenue so you see just how massive May was.

ChatGPT's downloads have been on the decline since November, when OpenAI paused new ChatGPT+ subscriptions, and for months were just dropping. By April, monthly downloads were down 26% when compared to November - ChatGPT's peak.

Our estimates show that May's downloads reversed that trend, growing from 13.9M in April to 18.7M in May - just a bit short of November's, but otherwise the highest since launch.

Reversing a negative trend is good, but making more money is even better.

Our estimates show that ChatGPT's revenue grew by $5.8M in May to $20.3M of net revenue from the App Store and Google Play (but mostly from the App Store). Looking back to its release, ChatGPT only had 4 other months where revenue growth was 40% or higher.

Those new downloads converted and converted well, giving ChatGPT's always-growing revenue a brand new peak and ushering it past the $20M mark for the first time. And that's all net, which means what OpenAI keeps after Apple's and Google's fees.

Most of the money, more than 34%, came from the US with Germany a distant second and the UK and Japan trailing behind Germany. I'm not sure what ChatGPT needs to do to grow internationally, but I'm sure that's coming.

GPT-4o is pretty magical, but I continue to believe the future of generative AI isn't in a textbox but rather in more focused tools that will bring "AI" to the masses.

2. iPhone owners are paying millions for QR code readers

People ask me if there are still opportunities to make money with apps and they're somehow surprised when I say yes.

I recently stumbled upon an app that most people don't even think about, yet it's making almost a million dollars every month!

The app is Scan QR Code and it's only available for the iPhone. It earned $937K of net revenue, according to our estimates. Net means what East End Technologies, the developer, gets to keep after Apple's fees.

According to our App Intelligence, since its release back at the end of 2022, the app has been downloaded 3.5M times and earned $9M in net revenue. For a feature that's built into iOS. Really.

Side note: The QR reading capabilities built into the iPhone are not great...

Having discovered this app I was very curious to see if any other QR code scanners are commanding such revenue so I jumped into Explorer to find all apps that mention "QR" in their name, which I then filtered down to only include apps that made more than $1,000 in the last 30 days.

Can you guess how many apps I found?

63! 49 on the App Store and 14 on Google Play, published by 62 developers. One is double-dipping.

In the last 30 days, these 63 apps generated more than $4M in net revenue from the App Store and Google Play, though the majority of the revenue - more than 90% - is being generated on the App Store.

The answer is clear - You can definitely absolutely clearly still make money with a simple app. You just need to find the right niche.

3. Netflix's Game Portfolio is Dominated by a Single Game

Netflix has been not-so-quietly building out its mobile games portfolio for quite a while now. As of June, the collection has grown to over 100 titles, available across the App Store and Google Play.

Five of those were released since May, and 13 were released in 2024. Pretty active.

But...

Netflix's portfolio ended May with 5.8M downloads from the App Store and Google Play, according to our estimates. That's a touch higher than April, which is good news for Netflix because downloads have been on a downward trend after a massive December that brought in 21M downloads.

The reason for December's spike was Netflix's rollout of three GTA titles that became popular instantly.

GTA San Andreas, GTA Vice City, and GTA III were all released in December and together brought a Netflix game to more than 12M mobile devices in December alone, according to our estimates. Downloads slowed down after the initial release, but in total, the trio made it to 24M devices.

And although there are three GTA titles it's San Andreas that's leading the charge. In the last month, GTA San Andreas was responsible for nearly a third of all of the downloads Netflix's portfolio received, totaling 16M downloads since release - more than any other game in the portfolio.

This is great news for Netflix, who hit gold by resurrecting a classic, but it means that without GTA the portfolio wouldn't have seen anywhere near the growth it got since December leading to a less positive conclusion.

Let's see which big-name Netflix is going to bring out next.


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4. The Fitness App That's Beating All the Trends and Making All the Money

Over the last few years, it's become common to see apps get fewer downloads but make more money. Especially apps that have been around for a while.

The increase in revenue can be attributed to the rise of subscriptions as acceptable monetization model but also the focus and effort more and more companies are putting into optimizing revenue growth.

One such example is Strava, a workout-tracking app with a social component that saw its revenue rise 240% since 2020.

Our estimates show Strava, which was released all the way back in 2011, earning its first million back in December of 2018. And that's net which means it's what Strava took home after Apple's and Google's fees.

Revenue continued to grow after crossing the 1M milestone but very slowly, until 2020, when net revenue skyrocketed to more than $8M in August. It fell right after but started a new cycle where Strava's revenue is constantly growing and in the summer grows even more.

Fast forward to 2024, and Strava just had it biggest May ever. According to our estimates, Strava brought in $13M of net revenue in May, up 48% when compared to last May.

And May isn't even Strava's strongest month. According to our App Intelligence, that's August. Last August, Strava hauled a whopping $13M of net revenue. If growth remains the same this summer, Strava could be looking at almost $20M in net revenue this August.

What's fueling this mega growth? Downloads - sure. Unlike other apps, Strava's downloads aren't on the decline. After a huge year in 2020, Strava saw two fairly stagnant years, but 2024 reversed the trend. So far this year, downloads have risen 43%, adding 11M new users to its pool.

But that's not all. If you're a user of Strava you know how aggressive the app is at getting users to upgrade to a paid plan. See, getting started with Strava is pretty simple, but once you're in the odds of you not seeing some sort of a push to a paid tier every time you use the app are nonexistent. But it's never too pushy or aggressive so as a user I rarely even think about it.

Strava is a great example of how important revenue optimization is to a subscription app and also the proof that it works.

5. Apple Takes on Blackmagic with Final Cut Camera

Last week, Apple released a new standalone camera app called Final Cut Camera. Perfect timing considering we'll be able to change the camera shortcut in iOS 18.

That's probably not the real reason as the app is meant for more advanced controls. And as you can imagine, there are a few of those on the App Store already.

The most popular one comes from Blackmagic, the company behind the Pocket Cinema Cameras and the Davinci Resolve video editing software - both of which I use for our videos.

The app just launched, but in its first two days on the App Store, it already saw more downloads than Blackmagic Camera got this entire month!

According to our estimates, Apple's Final Cut Camera got 481K downloads in its first two days on the App Store. And unlike what I expected, the US was responsible for only 21% of those downloads, but it was the only country with a double-digit contribution.

India, the UK, Turkey, and China round out the top 5 countries, but the downloads came from 100+ countries, which is really remarkable considering the release happened around the same as WWDC and wasn't showcased there.

Fun fact: Apple used the Blackmagic Camera app to capture last year's WWDC keynote.

Final Cut Camera is taking on the Blackmagic Camera app. Kind of. Afterall, most video editors are loyal to their editing platform. But for context, Blackmagic Camera never had as many downloads in a single day as Final Cut Camera - not even on launch day.

According to our estimates, Blackmagic Camera has been averaging around 9K downloads per day this year. It was a bit higher last year, but not by that much. Downloads have been fairly steady.

In total, Blackmagic Camera was downloaded 4.5M times since launch, and like Apple's camera, the US is the biggest contributor of downloads but not the only country. China, Russia, Japan, and Brazil are the other four top countries, but downloads are coming from 100+ countries.

I don't expect Apple's release to cause downloads to drop, but what's more likely is that we'll see Final Cut Camera's drop to Blackmagic's level within a few weeks.

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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