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A high-level analysis

[Scroll down for And a few more things… industry news highlights]

About once a quarter I spend some time analyzing the US app store rankings for the top photo and video apps, while also checking out any new apps that might have made it into the top positions.

Below are my high-level takeaways, based on an analysis of the US app store data for the top 65 free or grossing photo/video apps on February 1. (Contact me if you’d be interested in acquiring the complete analysis + data set).

A few words about the methodology:

  • The analysis is based on the top 20 rankings for free as well as grossing apps, both for iPhone and Android. (The total is not 80, as some apps are listed both in the top free and top grossing rankings).
  • For today’s analysis I did not include a review of the top 20 paid apps, unless they were part of the top grossing apps. (Top grossing apps are either paid apps or free apps that make money through in-app purchasing or subscriptions).
  • While the data are only a snapshot for a particular day, February 1, I believe they’re indicative enough for showing the trends outlined below.
  • When analyzing the occurrence of subscription options, I’ve limited the scope to iOS apps, as the App Store generally does a better job listing an app’s subscription options than Google Play.
  • When analyzing the occurrence of video features, I also limit the analysis to iOS apps, as the App Store features a single category in which video apps are listed; Google Play lists some video apps in its Photo category and others in its Video Players & Editors category.

Enough about the methodology! What did we find?

The top-ranking apps continue to be the ones that have been on the market for a long time. The 65 top ranking apps have, on average, been on the market for 4.5 years.

With some noticeable exceptions (see below), the high-ranking iOS and Android photo/video apps get high user ratings. Their average ratings are 4.4.

The highest ratings are for: (each with a perfect score of 5.0 and being iOS apps)

  • Ripl: Make Videos From Photos
  • Triller – Music Video Maker
  • InShot – Video Editor
  • Google Photos
  • Pic Collage – Top Photo Editor
  • Instagram

The lowest ratings are for:

  • iArt Camera: Art Effects & Multiple Exposure: 2.0 (Android)
  • Snapchat: 2.4 (iOS)
  • X Photo Editor – Cartoon Effect & Fashion Makeup: 2.8 (Android)

Note that Snapchat has still not recovered from its user revolt when the company changed its UI much to the chagrin of its loyal users.

But the long-time high-ranking apps are absolutely not stagnant:

  • We now see way more apps that cater to (also) video use cases than we’ve seen in the past: 77% of the top iOS apps in the Photo and Video category are video apps or have video as well as photo features. Just 23% have photo-only features.
  • Subscriptions are rapidly proliferating – as the top grossing apps know all too well. Currently, 60% of the top-grossing iOS photo/video apps offer subscription options inside their apps. Subscriptions range from $119.99/yr. for Ripl Pro to $19.99/yr. for EasySnap: Selfie Beauty Camera.

And a few more things…

Shutterfly. Ouch! Shutterfly posts disappointing Q4 results, in particular for their core business, the consumer segment (Q4 revenues of $528M vs. guidance from $540M to $560M). So, the CEO is on his way out and the company is up for sale. I’ve shared my concerns before about the negative impact that an acquisition of a company like Lifetouch could have on the much needed focus on rejuvenating Shutterfly’s core business. Because, guess what? The company is suffering from slowing revenues from prints and cards, while revenues from mobile “significantly outperformed their expectations”: Q4 app revenues increased 68% YoY.

Samsung & Corephotonics. Samsung is in “advanced negotiations” to acquire Corephotonics for a reported $160 million. This Israeli company is a pioneer in dual camera and zoom technologies; its technology is reportedly behind OPPO’s 5x zoom system for smartphone cameras.

Wanna Kicks. Still not sure about the here-and-now benefits of AR? Check out this new AR app from Belarus-based Wannaby, which lets you envision in real time how the sneakers that you’re considering buying look on your feet. No need for sneakers? Try out their Wanna Nails or Wanna Jewelry apps.

Warby Parker. Another new try-before-you-by AR App: Warby Parker’s new app combines AR and face mapping so you can try on virtual glasses. We covered an earlier version in our Consumer AR App Trends report, which analyzes 89 consumer AR apps. The earlier version recommended frames based on a visual analysis of your face; now these frames are mapped to your face and show you actually wearing them.

WhiteWall. While we’re at it, a more common AR use case is envisioning wall décor on your living room wall. Now WhiteWall lets you do just that through their new iPhone AR app, while also allowing you to save your explorations as a set of screenshots that you can review later on when deciding on buying your wall décor prints.

InstagramInstagram Stories keep proliferating. Roughly half of Instagram’s 1 billion users engage with Stories every day (500M DAUs, up from 400M in June of 2018). With new features on the horizon.

CanonCanon sees the digital camera market plunging by 50% in the next two years. No surprise, but now said aloud: full-frame mirrorless cameras do eat away at DSLR sales. The sad thing? Rather than catering to rapidly evolving consumer imaging use cases and user demographics, it appears that Canon’s response is to shift focus toward the enterprise imaging market.

DxOMark. Most of us are familiar with DXOMark’s smartphone camera tests. While these cover the phone’s rear camera, a new test protocol let them evaluate the front cameras as well. Spoiler alert: the best of the rear camera phones are not necessarily the best front camera phones.

Mixbook & WedPics. The thing about weddings is that most people don’t hold one more than once (or a few times at most). With the likelihood of repeat business not great, Mixbook’s acquisition of WedPics may not have panned out, as they’re now closing down the service. Or maybe it was worthwhile in some other way? Mixbook’s lips are sealed.

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Hans Hartman

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