Apps

US App Store downloads are dropping, new data indicates

Comment

App Store icon on iPhone screen
Image Credits: TechCrunch

There’s a concerning new trend taking place on the U.S. App Store which is impacting companies large and small: Many apps are seeing their downloads decline, even as overall App Store revenue grows. The data, which comes from app intelligence firm Appfigures, suggests that some of the biggest apps on the market are slowly losing their appeal in the face of increased competition, pulling overall app installs down.

This is not happening at a scale large enough to dethrone the big apps, however, the firm tells us. For instance, Facebook remains one of the most downloaded apps every month. But it is enough of a slowdown to have some sort of impact.

The analysis here is limited to the U.S. App Store and was measured using Appfigures’ Mobile Market Index. This index tracks the downloads and revenues of the top 25 apps in each category and country and then compares that to the date of January 1, 2018. This results in a value that allows it to track app growth over time.

Last year, the Mobile Download Index, which tracks app installs, was 91.87. That figure means downloads were already down versus 2018 data, but not by much. As of August 31, 2023, the Index had dropped to 83.59 — that’s a drop of 8.28 points, or 9% lower than where it started, indicating a worsening trend.

Image Credits: Appfigures

The Download Index had been falling over the past year, though it bumped up again in December 2022 — typically a big month for new app installs as the holidays bring new phones to unwrap and users with a lot more downtime to try apps, as they take time off from work. But those gains were over by this April when the Index fell as low as 64.50 points, the data shows.

Still, the decline in installs doesn’t impact every category, the firm told us. For instance, the sports streaming apps that have rolled out over the past few years are still growing their base, medical apps are growing in popularity and business apps remain somewhat evergreen, Appfigures said. Education, shopping, travel and productivity apps are also out of the red for the time being.

On the flip side, news, games and entertainment apps all saw double-digit drops, most likely due to market saturation. And many more apps across the board were seeing declines, not growth.

“I think the main reason is that the big apps are slowly losing their appeal as new entrants come in,” explained Appfigures co-founder and CEO Ariel Michaeli as to why the Download Index was falling. “Acquisition has also become hard thanks to App Tracking Transparency, but I don’t think that’s the primary driver behind this,” he added.

It’s true the top of the App Store has started to look different in recent months, as Meta’s grip on the top Overall apps has loosened, leaving room for others like ByteDance’s TikTok and CapCut, China-based shopping apps Temu and Shein, and others. As of the time of writing, only Meta’s Threads has a spot in the top 10 free non-game apps on the U.S. App Store at No. 2.

Image Credits: Appfigures

But it’s not all bad news for the app economy. App revenue in the U.S. has been growing despite the decline in installs as developers turned their attention to monetization. Last year, the Mobile Revenue Index was 363.13 — much higher than in 2018. As of August 31, it’s higher still, at 458.3, or 122.17 points (36.4%) higher than where it started.

The category with the most revenue growth over the past year was Productivity apps (up 69.3%). In games, Board games rose the most, growing by 584.9%. Only four U.S. App Store categories saw revenue declines last year, in fact, and all were in games — Sports, Racing, Music and Action.

Almost every other category in the App Store saw revenue grow last year, Appfigures said.

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo