Pulse on Current App Trends, April 2020

Eden Baniel | May 27, 2020
Account Manager

Welcome to YouAppi’s App Trends Report, a regular bi-weekly rundown of the actionable insights you need to better market your app in the “new normal”. In our second installment, we’re spotlighting global app engagement and an update of game app performance since the mobile gaming gold rush seen earlier this month.

Global App Engagement

Overall In-App Revenue Continues to Rise – Consumer spend in apps has increased by 13%, growing an overall 42% since March 17. The continued elevation in in-app purchases is due to increasing session times, which continue to rise as well.

IAP Revenue Is Up But Varies at the Country Level – While overall global IAP revenue is positive, the apps experiencing positive revenue growth vary at the country level as the outbreak spreads to different regions of the world. There is a positive correlation between COVID cases and revenue uplift. Countries where cases are on the rise, have seen a positive uptick in IAP revenue. For example, as Russia reports more COVID cases, 72% of app categories in that country have experienced positive revenue growth in the last 2 weeks. This is compared to only 44% of app categories experiencing revenue growth in the two weeks before. In the US, 60% of app verticals have seen positive growth in the past week vs. 44% in the previous two weeks.

On the other hand, in countries where the number of cases is starting to plateau, there is a correlated negative revenue trend. For example in France, only 28% of app categories have seen positive revenue growth in the past two weeks vs. 68% in the previous two weeks. 

Ad Spend is Down – From the second week of April to date, ad spend dropped 7% as the cost of media increased. In gaming, global spending has decreased by 12% since the second week of April (in contrast to a 37% increase in spending from the end of February to early April). In non-gaming, spend has remained unchanged, increasing by 14% throughout.

Installs Continue to Trend Down – While overall global in-app revenue and session time is increasing, installs continue to trend down. As mentioned in our first Pulse on Current App Trends Report, installs peaked in early April when demand and aggressive UA was up. Since ad spend is down, non-organic installs have dropped by 20% and organic installs by 15% in the past two weeks.

Weekly Percentage of Installs, Sessions and Revenue in Measured Time Frame (Normalized)


Source: AppsFlyer

The Leading Verticals 

First place: Finance – In the last two weeks, finance app revenue has risen by 15%, with an overall 40% growth since March 17. This trend is due to the shift of banking activities to digital platforms throughout shelter in place restrictions.

Second place: Communication – People continue to turn to communication apps to connect with their loved ones from afar. In the past two weeks, sessions have risen 11% after a 130% leap since March 17.

Honorable mentions:  Shopping & Video Streaming

Online delivery and media consumption continue to rise as people are relegated to their homes.

Shopping – As online delivery demand climbs so does shopping app revenue. Shopping app revenue has risen 10% in the past two weeks and an overall 50% since March 17.

Video Streaming – Video streaming app revenue may have dropped 16% in the last six weeks but this is minimal relative to the 111% revenue rise since mid-February. Installs are also on a downward trend but still much higher than pre-coronavirus levels. 

Game App Update

In April 2020, the most downloaded mobile game worldwide was Save The Girl from Lion Studios with over 50 million installs. This was followed by Gardenscapes by Playrix with close to 38 million downloads. In terms of downloads, April 2020 was a big month for publishers outside of the hyper-casual game space. Playrix was the only publisher with two game titles in the top 10: Gardenscapes, as mentioned before, and Fishdom, which drove 22 million installs

In revenue, Tencent’s PUBG Mobile and Honor of Kings led the way at $225.2 million and $156 million each. For both games the majority of revenue came from China. PUBG Mobile earned close to 60% of its player spend from China and Honor of Kings, over 94%.

Source: Sensor Tower

As we reported in our last Trends update, game app revenue was up 16% as of the second week of May. Interestingly, game app revenue has since seen a 16% drop in revenue. This was driven largely by the drop in revenue for Core games (-20%) and Casual and Social Casino games (-8%). 

In contrast, hyper-casual was the only genre to see an increase, rising 12%. As noted in the performance figures above, the rise in hyper-casual game revenue comes after relatively lower performance compared to other genres and a 30% drop in revenue in previous weeks. This indicates consumer preferences are in flux. 

Top Apps Overall (April 2020)

Source: Sensor Tower

ZOOM was the most downloaded non-gaming app of April 2020 with almost 131 million installs. For reference, this represents 60 times more installs than its performance in April 2019. TikTok was the second most installed non-game app last month with more than 107 million installs. This represented a 2.5x increase from April 2019. Both apps saw the highest growth in India followed by the U.S.

TikTok continues to drive the highest revenue of non-gaming apps with over $78 million user spend in April 2020. For comparison, this represents 10 times more growth than their performance in April 2019. It should also be noted that over 86% of this revenue came from China. YouTube showed the second-highest non-game app gross revenue with close to $76 million generated in April 2020. Over 56% of this revenue came from the U.S.

Source: Sensor Tower

We’re keeping a close watch on app engagement as behavior changes rapidly during the coronavirus crisis. Check back in 2 weeks for an update of actionable insights to better market your app in the “new normal”.