📱 iOS Apps (Data and Opportunities)
5 min read

📱 iOS Apps (Data and Opportunities)

Before we dive in, a recommendation (not an ad).

Signals is an amazing newsletter by Richard Kong who recently acquired it from Timo Särkkä. He publishes 5-minute trend reports including lots of useful stats and related business opportunities.

Now on to today's data, insights, and opportunities.

Why care about iOS Apps?

  • Apple's App Store had total sales of $72 billion in 2020, a 24 percent year-over-year increase.
  • Subscription revenue (the best kind of revenue) increased to $13 billion in 2020.
  • There are many simple apps making 6-figure revenue, like the WaterMinder app which is netting $40k in revenue per month.

📊 The Data

The top 200+ apps in each category (excluding games) listed on the Apple US App Store with information on ratings and pricing (where available).

(Note: revenue estimates are from Sensortower and should be taken with a grain of salt. However, at least for paid apps, they're usually reasonably accurate.)

🔑 Key Observations

  • Games account for around 70 percent of total app revenue.
  • North America is only the second-biggest market. China accounts for almost 40 percent of all app revenue.
  • Apps are a winner-take-most business. The top 1% of app publishers generate 90% of the revenue across the App Store.
  • At the very top we have of course apps everyone knows like Tinder, YouTube, TikTok, and Netflix.
  • Below them, we have highly-sophisticated apps with medium-sized companies behind them. Examples include productivity apps like GoodNotes and Notability, graphics apps like Procreate and LumaFusion, and helper apps like Duet Display.
  • But even if we exclude all apps from these two categories, there are still hundreds of apps literally anyone could've built that are generating healthy revenue.

🔥 Highlights

  • SleepTown is a simple app that helps users develop better sleep habits. When you go to bed and get up in time, you can construct buildings in a virtual town. If you fail to achieve your goals, your buildings get destroyed. So the concept is exactly the same as for the famous Forest app (plant and grow trees whenever you focus on your work), which, unsurprisingly, is developed by the same team.

    SleepTown is currently priced at $1.99 and is getting around 6000 downloads per month. So the the total monthly revenue should be around $10k.

    Sleep Town's big brother Forest is also priced at $1.99 and is generating around $100k per month.
  • Tody is a "smarter to-do list for managing household cleaning routines" that generates $9k per month.
  • The Knots 3D app is generating $10k per month by teaching users how to tie knots.
  • AutoSleep and HeartWatch are rather amateurish looking apps from the same developers that are generating around $100k and $30k per month respectively.
    Autosleep ($3.99) is a sleep tracker, whereas HeartWatch ($3.99) collects, as the name already suggests, heart health related data.
  • Modern Essentials Plus "delivers all you need to know for using, sharing, and succeeding with essential oils". The app costs $3.99, looks like a school project, has horrible reviews (2.14 average rating), and is generating $10k per month. A similar app called Ref Guide for Essential Oils ($6.99) is doing equally well.
  • The Food Intolerances app allows users to check recipes given their personal food intolerances (Histamine, FODMAP etc.).  Around 1000 users are buying the app per month for $7.99 and it's quickly moving up the app charts. Another app that capitalizes on the food intolerance trend (with an equally primitive design) is Monash University FODMAP diet which is generating around $60k per month.
  • Rainy Mood costs $2.99 and there’s just one thing you can do with the app: play rainy sounds. Apparently there's enough demand as the app is generating $7,000 per month. Many noise apps like Dark Noise are doing similarly well.  
  • Nat Eliason is making around $5k per month with his ‎Stamena app that promises guys "longer lasting sex" through two simple exercises. It all started with an article that went viral on Reddit. At the beginning he recommended a different app but after seeing how much traffic he sent to it, he decided to hire a developer to built his own app.

    SnoreGym, a somewhat similar app that helps users reduce their snoring through exercises, also generates around $5k per month.
  • Fishing Times Pro ($3.99) generates around $1k per month by helping users find the best time to go fishing in any area for any date. The recommendations are powered by a simple algorithm that uses factors like tides, moon, sun, time of year and location.

    Planit Pro ($9.99), a similar app that helps photographers find the perfect time for a landscape photo, generates around $9k per month.

☁️ Opportunities

  • Build the go-to reference app for the next health hype, analogous to how the Food Intolerances app capitalizes on the FODMAP trend.

    The GOLO diet, the Pegan diet and a growing interest in gut health are three examples of currently rising health trends.
  • Build a hyper-focused exercise app like Stamena or SnoreGym to help users with a common health problem.

    Here's a page I created that contains information and data on some of the most common health symptoms.

    One interesting example is that thanks to James Nestor's book Breath lots of people are now interested in stopping mouth breathing. Hence an app that helps users achieve this goal would definitely be an interesting project.

Brainfog is another health issue that more and more people are starting to become aware of.

  • Build a WHOOP alternative for the Apple Watch.

    WHOOP is a fitness tracker that comes with a beautifully designed app and requires a $30/month subscription. However, the Apple Watch can measure anything WHOOP devices can measure. Hence in theory, there is no reason for an expensive additional device. The only thing that sets WHOOP apart is the app. No app for the Apple Watch comes close.

    The fact that people pay $30 per month for the WHOOP app and just how much revenue the rather amateurish HeartWatch app generates shows how big this opportunity is.

    An app that pulls in data from Apple Health and gives you actionable recommendations would already be a great start. If it's then also beautifully designed and includes social features to keep you motivated it definitely would become a huge hit.
  • Build a better version of a popular app with bad ratings. Oftentimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just execute better.

    A great example of such an opportunity is Farm Sprayer GPS.  The app helps farmers track their position in the field while spraying. Despite an abysmal average rating of 1.9, the app is generating $6k per month.

I hope you enjoyed this report. If you have a minute, please respond and let me know what you think.

Thanks,

Jakob

PS: If you're interested in further opportunities, check out Opportunities Pro which includes access to lots of additional reports like this one, more data, hundreds of trend signals, a growing business idea database, and much, much more.

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