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The Rise of AI Apps and Japan’s Mobile Market Stability in the Face of Download Declines

The Q1 2023 Store Intel Data Digest tracks Shein’s meteoric rise to become one of the worlds most downloaded apps in this period, shows how Japan has bucked the trend in terms of large drops in mobile app downloads, and reveals the burgeoning new category of AI apps and the promising growth trajectory they have found themselves on at the beginning of the year.


With Shein installs surging in Q1 2023, for the first time four of the top five most downloaded apps in the U.S. are published by Chinese owned companies. Shein continued its rapid ascent on the world stage, as well,  making it the 11th most downloaded app, worldwide. Attack Hole broke into the global top ten games for the first time, accumulating nearly 37M worldwide downloads. 

Slide 7 Data Digest

Looking at the top markets by downloads on the App Store, Japan was able to buck the trend of declines in the top 5 markets, achieving a small bump of .7% growth in Q1 year over year. With the rest of the top 5 seeing from 1 to 8.6% declines, this was a remarkable achievement.  On Google Play, the situation was even more dire, with declines across the board, ranging from 3% to nearly 9% in each of the top 5 markets.

App Store Slide 22

In Q1 2023, apps promoting AI functionality rose to prominence in the mobile app market. Touting sophisticated image editing capabilities and lifelike interactive chat functionality, apps in the category are on a path of rapid growth. The top app by both downloads and revenue in Q1 was AI Chatbot, by Vulcan Labs, at  9.5M downloads, and $3.3M in gross revenue. Released in early February, the Bing: Chat With AI app became a hit, reaching 7.3M downloads in the quarter. Now, with the release of the official OpenAI ChatGPT app on the App Store, competition is going to get fierce in this area, with new entrants needing to compete with much larger, well funded publishers with a significant stake in their success.


Sensor Tower empowers brands with accurate, actionable, and innovative intelligence to succeed in the rapidly evolving digital economy. In our Data Digest, we’ve compiled an overview of the quarters top apps, games and publishers so you can make better decisions when planning your mobile app growth strategies. Download a copy of the Q1 2023 Data Digest report today.

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Yuwen Huang

Written by: Yuwen Huang, Marketing Data Scientist

Date: May 2023