iPad App Downloads and Spending Reached Record Levels in Q1 2020

Downloads of iPad apps surged in the first quarter of this year, driven by an increase in use and adoption of the device amid widespread stay-at-home orders.


First-time downloads of iPad-specific apps surpassed 1.1 billion worldwide in Q1 2020, according to data compiled by Sensor Tower. It marks the first year-on-year growth since the fourth quarter of 2013 and a 40 percent increase from Q1 2019.

Based on the data, the vast majority of app installs in the first quarter were in the Games and Entertainment category, followed by education apps, which reached a record 105 million worldwide.

The previous best quarter for Education apps was Q1 2013 when they reached 91 million, indicating the impact of at-home schooling during the health crisis.


In addition, quarterly global consumer spending in ‌iPad‌ apps reportedly saw the largest year-on-year increase since Q4 2014 at 16 percent and crossed the $2 billion threshold for the first quarter ever. About 76 percent of that money, approximately $1.6 billion, was spent on games.

As for iPhone, app installs grew 24 percent year on year last quarter, compared to 40 percent growth on ‌iPad‌, partly owing to the ‌iPad‌'s increased suitability as a laptop stand-in at home, particularly for younger students, notes Sensor Tower.
This article, "iPad App Downloads and Spending Reached Record Levels in Q1 2020" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Sensor Tower Secretly Collecting Data From VPN and Ad-Blocking Apps on iOS and Android

Sensor Tower, an analytics platform that aggregates data on app downloads and usage for developers, has been secretly collecting data from millions of Android and iOS users who have installed popular VPN and ad-blocking apps, reports Buzzfeed News.

Luna VPN, one of the VPN apps owned by Sensor Tower that asked users to install an enterprise certificate

These apps, which are owned by Sensor Tower, do not disclose that their user data powers Sensor Tower's analytics platforms. iOS and Android users have downloaded the apps more than 35 million times.

Some of Sensor Tower's 20 or more apps on iOS and Android include Adblock Focus and Luna VPN, with the former having been removed by Apple after Buzzfeed News alerted Apple's App Store team about the existence of the app. Free and Unlimited VPN and Mobile Data were also on the Google Play Store, but Google has since removed Mobile Data.

When installed, Sensor Tower's apps are designed to prompt users to install a root certificate, which lets Sensor Tower monitor all traffic and data passing through the phone. Sensor Tower bypasses Apple and Google's restrictions on root certificate privileges by requiring users to install the certificate through an external website.

Sensor Tower told Buzzfeed News that it collects anonymized usage and analytics data to determine the popularity, usage trends, and revenue of apps. Ownership of the apps was not disclosed due to "competitive reasons," according to Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at Sensor Tower.
"When you consider the relationship between these types of apps and an analytics company, it makes a lot of sense -- especially considering our history as a startup," he said, adding that the company originally started with the goal of building an ad blocker. (He was unable to provide media coverage or other evidence of this early focus.)
He went on to explain that many of the apps are now defunct or are "in the process of sunsetting," which Buzzfeed points out is because they were removed from Apple and Google's App Stores due to policy violations.

An Apple spokesperson confirmed that a dozen Sensor Tower apps had previously been removed from the iOS ‌App Store‌ due to violations. Both Google and Apple are continuing to investigate Sensor Tower's apps, and more information on Sensor Tower's data collection practices can be found over at Buzzfeed News.

iOS users should be wary of installing VPN and ad-blocking apps from unknown developers, and should avoid apps that ask for certificates to be installed.
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Sensor Tower: iOS Users Spent $3.6 Billion on Top 100 Subscription Apps of 2019, Up 16% Year-on-Year

U.S. App Store customers spent $3.6 billion on the top 100 subscription apps of 2019, up 16 percent from the $3.1 billion spent in 2018, according to the latest report from Sensor Tower. The total spent on subscription apps was 24 percent of the $15.3 billion that the store generated from user spending overall last year.

Owing to its ad-free premium service, YouTube was the top subscription app on the U.S. ‌App Store‌, followed by dating app Tinder. During 2019, YouTube crossed the $1 billion milestone through in-app user spending alone.


On Google Play in the U.S. in 2019, users spent more than $1.1 billion in the top 100 grossing subscription apps on the platform, up 42 percent year-over-year from the $775 million spent in 2018. However, the ‌App Store‌ still leads in consumer spending, with $3.6 billion versus Google Play's $1.1 billion, according to the report.

Across both the Apple ‌App Store‌ and Google Play, U.S. subscription app revenue reach over $4.6 billion in 2019, up 21 percent from the $3.8 billion generated by the top 100 subscription apps last year. The subscription revenue accrued by these apps is said to have accounted for 19 percent of the total $24 billion in U.S. consumer spend in 2019.

According to Sensor Tower, the top 10 subscription apps on iOS and Android devices grew by 10 percent in 2019, but the No. 11 to No. 100 apps grew by 35 percent in the same period of time, indicating that the subscription model is also helping the less popular apps earn more recurring revenue.

Despite their growth, subscription-based apps tend to divide the user community. Apple began incentivizing developers to sell their apps for a recurring fee instead of a one-time cost when it made changes to its ‌App Store‌ subscription policies in 2016. Usually, Apple takes 30 percent of app revenue, but developers who are able to maintain a subscription with a customer longer than a year see Apple's cut drop down to 15 percent.

In late 2017, Apple began letting developers offer discounted introductory pricing and time-limited free trials on auto-renewable app subscriptions, based on the idea that subscriptions provide a higher likelihood of an engaged audience.


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Sensor Tower: Global App Store Spending on Christmas Day 2019 Hit a Record $193 Million

Consumer spending on the App Store totaled a record $193 million on Christmas Day 2019, representing a 16 percent increase year on year, according to a new report by Sensor Tower.


Approximately $84 million was spent on the Google Play store, representing year-on-year growth of 2.7 percent. Apple's ‌App Store‌ accounted for 70 percent of spending between the two platforms, which amounted to $277 million combined.

That total represented combined year-over-year growth of 11.3 percent for the two stores, which brought in $249 million combined in user spending on Christmas Day in 2018.

Sensor Tower says the increase in spending was largely due to new mobile device owners and people who received ‌App Store‌ gift cards, with games being the most popular purchase.

The majority of mobile spending on Christmas, approximately $210 million, was focused on the Games category, which generated 76 percent of revenue across both stores and grew about 8 percent Y/Y from $195 million. PUBG Mobile from Tencent’s TiMi studio led in-game spending with $8.5 million, up 431 percent from the $1.6 million players spent in the game on Christmas 2018.
Other apps accounted for approximately 2 percent more of all spending this Christmas compared to a year prior, bringing in an estimated $67 million. The top non-game app for overall spending on Christmas was reportedly the dating app Tinder, which brought in a gross global revenue near $2.1 million.

The ‌App Store‌ makes up a huge portion of Apple's services business. It currently receives a 30 percent cut of all revenue that developers earn from the ‌App Store‌, with the exception of subscription apps. For apps where a customer maintains a subscription for more than a year, developers are entitled to an 85/15 split, with Apple taking a 15 percent cut rather than a 30 percent cut.


This article, "Sensor Tower: Global App Store Spending on Christmas Day 2019 Hit a Record $193 Million" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Mario Kart Tour is Nintendo’s Biggest Mobile Launch to Date With 90 Million Downloads in First Week

Nintendo's latest smartphone app Mario Kart Tour has been downloaded over 90 million times since it launched last week, according to new download estimates shared by Sensor Tower.


The number eclipses both Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Super Mario Run, which were downloaded a respective 14.3 million times and just under 13 million times in their debut week, making Mario Kart Tour Nintendo's biggest mobile game launch to date.

Breaking down the figure across platforms, the free-to-play game was downloaded 36.5 million times on iOS devices, while the Android version was downloaded 53.3 million times.

In terms of overall revenue driven by in-app purchases, Mario Kart Tour earned $12.7 million, so it hasn't reached the heights of Fire Emblem Heroes, which earned Nintendo $28.2 million in its first week. Super Mario Run meanwhile clocked up $16.1 million in its debut week, making Mario Kart Tour the company's third-biggest game.

Across platforms, $9.6 million (75.5 percent) was spent in-game by iOS device users, while Android IAPs amounted to $3.1 million (24.5 percent). Most spending occurred in the U.S. with $5.8 million, followed by Japan ($4 million) and France ($752,000).

Announced in January 2018, Mario Kart Tour was delayed several times before its debut last week. The game features an optional "Gold Pass" subscription, which introduces various in-game items and badges and also unlocks the faster 200cc mode. Nintendo is offering a two-week free trial, after which it costs $4.99 a month.

Mario Kart Tour is a free download from the App Store, requires iOS 10 or later to play, and officially supports iPhone 5s or iPad Air and later devices. A Nintendo Account is also required to play the game. [Direct Link]


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Pokémon Mobile Games Have Earned $2.5 Billion Total, Mostly From Pokémon GO

Mobile gamers on iOS and Android have spent approximately $2.5 billion on Pokémon games, according to new data shared this week by Sensor Tower.

There are six mobile titles that Sensor Tower is counting towards the total, but the bulk of the money - 98 percent - was earned by the most popular Pokémon title, Pokémon GO.


The other five titles that have brought in more modest amounts of revenue include Pokémon Shuffle Mobile, Pokémon Duel, Pokémon Quest, Pokémon: Magikarp Jump, and Pokémon TCG Online.

The United States has spend the most on Pokémon games, with total U.S. revenue coming in at 875 million, or 35 percent of the $2.5 billion number. Japan comes in second and accounts for 29 percent or $725 million of the total Pokémon game revenue.

Pokémon games have been installed by 640 million mobile users around the world since 2014, with Pokémon GO unsurprisingly making up the bulk of that with 550 million total worldwide downloads.


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WhatsApp, Messenger, and Minecraft Among Most Popular Apps in App Store’s 10 Year History

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Apple's iOS App Store, Sensor Tower has shared a list of the apps and games that have spent the most time in the #1 spot of the store's various charts. Looking at the period of time from July 1, 2010 to July 5, 2018, Sensor Tower's researchers found that a total of 30,000 unique apps have achieved #1 status on the free, paid, or top grossing charts in at least one country.

Image and charts via Sensor Tower

Honing in the data a bit more, Sensor Tower found 422 apps that hit #1 on the top free iPhone apps chart in the United States during this period, and of those apps, Facebook Messenger spent the most days at #1 with a combined 317 days. Worldwide, WhatsApp earned the top spot with a combined 1,783 days at #1 for free iPhone apps. Popular apps in both the U.S. and worldwide for these charts included Snapchat and YouTube.


Looking at the amount of days at #1 for paid iPhone apps, Minecraft had the most days both in the U.S. (847 days) and worldwide (1,645 days) App Stores. Games were popular in the U.S. on the paid iPhone apps chart, also including Angry Birds (311 days), Heads Up (225 days), and Where's My Water (47 days), but globally there was more of a mix with apps like Facetune (1,501 days), Afterlight (1,312 days), and 7 Min Workout (1,134 days) rounding out the top four spots under Minecraft.


Clash of Clans spent 805 days at #1 on Apple's top grossing iPhone apps chart in the U.S., coming in far ahead of the second place app Candy Crush at 278 days. The only non-gaming apps on this chart were Pandora (202 days), Netflix (172 days), and Spotify (61 days). Worldwide, Clash of Clans held onto the top spot with 1,900 days, while Spotify also remained in the top ten with 1,047 days spent at #1.

The App Store officially launched on July 10, 2008 with 500 apps for iPhone 3G owners to download, 75 percent of which were paid downloads. Over time the App Store grew and expanded, introducing in-app purchases, apps for the iPad, subscriptions, revamped interfaces, and more. Most recently in iOS 11, Apple introduced editorialized content on the App Store's home page with articles and features that highlight new and interesting apps and games every day.

For more on the ten-year anniversary of the iOS App Store, be sure to check out our retrospective that dives into the big events that hit the App Store over the past decade.


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Fortnite on iOS Has Earned $50M Since Launch

Popular battle royale game Fortnite has eared more than $50 million in revenue since its March 15 launch, according to new data shared this afternoon by app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Fortnite is free to download, but it encourages players to shell out cash within the app for "V-Bucks" that can be used to purchase customization items like emotes, outfits, gliders, and more. The minimum in-app purchase is $9.99 for 1,000 V-Bucks, but players can spend more if desired. Players are also able to earn V-Bucks in game, but at a slow rate.


On iOS devices, Fortnite has proven to be incredibly popular. While it was still in beta, Fortnite had earned more than $1.5 million, and during its first month of availability on iPads and iPhones, the game brought in $25 million. It only took two weeks for that to double to $50 million.

Fortnite continues to be the number two top free game on the iOS App Store, with Epic Games managing to keep players engaged through different seasons that introduce new challenges to complete and content to unlock. Players can also purchase Battle Passes for $10 worth of in-game currency to receive additional items for completing season content.

Fortnite's fourth season content, which debuted earlier this week, is what pushed it over the $50 million mark. Player spending in the game jumped up 293 percent on May 1 when the content launched, a 4x increase compared to the preceding Tuesday.


Sensor Tower says that Fortnite's strategy of selling limited-time skins and other items has resulted in players spending approximately $1 million per day in the mobile game alone.


PUBG, another battle royale game that launched shortly after Fortnite, has not been as successful, which Sensor Tower attributes in part to its loot box monetization strategy. While Fortnite offers unique items available for a limited amount of time, PUGB only allows players to purchase randomized boxes that can result in duplicate and non-useful items.


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ARKit-Only Apps Exceed 13M Global Downloads Since Launch as Games Remain Most Popular Category

Since ARKit debuted within iOS 11 on September 19 last year, iPhone and iPad owners worldwide have downloaded and installed more than 13 million ARKit-only apps. The data comes from Sensor Tower, which broke down the most popular categories of augmented reality apps fueled by ARKit, the top 10 free and paid apps, highest grossing apps, and more.


Games remain the dominant category for ARKit-only apps -- or those apps built "expressly using" Apple's framework -- having grown from representing 35 percent of downloads one month after iOS 11's launch, to 47 percent today. The second place category, Utilities, decreased from 19 percent last October to 15 percent in March. Rounding out the top six were Entertainment, Lifestyle, Photo & Video, and Education.

Charts via Sensor Tower

Sensor Tower pointed out that for the games-specific charts, the top spots of all three sections (free, paid, grossing) were "still occupied by many of the same titles that found success several months ago," suggesting not much variation in ARKit-only gaming on the App Store. On the other hand, when the researchers looked at non-game apps they saw multiple newcomers rising on the charts, like LEGO AR Studio -- "a testament to the popularity of kid-focused AR content on the App Store thus far."
From what we’ve seen in our latest analysis, ARKit-only apps only continue to grow in terms of installs and the number of experiences available to users. This isn’t including the numerous ARKit-compatible apps that have added some degree of AR functionality in the past six months and have pushed the number of AR apps on the App Store well beyond 2,000 to date.

There’s clearly substantial room for growth in terms of user base and revenue, but also ambition when it comes to this burgeoning category, and the apps above have built a solid foundation for what’s to come, especially as the capabilities of ARKit evolve and expand with future versions of iOS.
Popular free game "AR Dragon" retained the top spot as the most-downloaded free ARKit-only app and game during the framework's first six months of availability. Other augmented reality apps that remain popular on the App Store include IKEA Place (#2 free apps), AR MeasureKit (#5 free apps/#5 top grossing), and CamToPlan Pro (#1 paid apps). For both paid and grossing categories, ARKit app downloads are leaning "predominantly" to the Utilities category.


Apple CEO Tim Cook has described augmented reality as "profound" in the past, claiming that Apple is in a "unique position" to lead when it comes to the technology. He thinks that AR will become "as key as having a website" for brands, and sees ARKit as the start of something much bigger: "This is very much like in 2008 when we fired the gun in the App Store. That's what it feels like to me and I think it will just get bigger from here."


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Invite-Only Game Fortnite Has Earned an Estimated $1.5M Since Launch

Epic Games' popular Fortnite Battle Royale game for iOS devices has grossed an estimated $1.5 million worldwide since its release last Thursday, according to figures shared this afternoon by app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Fortnite has topped the iPhone download charts in more than 40 countries since it was released, despite the fact that it continues to be invite only. As of now, it is the number one free app in the Games section of the App Store.


According to Sensor Tower, Fortnite earned $1 million during the first 72 hours after in-app purchases first became live in the game for beta testers.

In Fortnite, players can buy outfits, tools, weapons, emotes, gliders, and more using the in-game currency, V-Bucks. Players can purchase 1,000 V-Bucks for $9.99, which is the minimum in-app purchase. Higher quantities of V-Bucks are available for more money.

Fortnite earned far more than other survival-style games that were released at the same time. Knives Out, a competing game, earned $57k, while Rules of Survival earned $39k. Fortnite could have some competition now, however, as Tencent today released the official version of PUBG Mobile, which offers the same kind of gameplay available in Fortnite.


Compared to other popular games, Fortnite hasn't brought in quite as much money, but it is still in a beta testing phase. Pokémon GO brought in $4.9 million just four days after release, and Clash Royale earned $4.6 million four days after it was released.

The goal in Fortnite is to be the last person standing, with players tasked with killing opponents using a variety of weapons while also avoiding death from other players. The game is also available on PCs and consoles, with cross-platform gameplay available if enabled.

Fortnite can be downloaded from the App Store for free, but a beta invite is required to play. Epic Games plans to expand the beta in the weeks to come, but it's not yet clear when it will see an official launch. [Direct Link]


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