Taking stock at T-Me Studios: emerging markets are where it’s at!

T-Me Studios has grown by leaps and bounds, with more app installs achieved in 2017 than the combined total of the previous two years we’ve been in business. We’re at a comfortable point in our evolution — scaled up from our humble startup beginnings! — where we can afford to invest in riskier, innovation-centric ventures. And, frankly, we’re chomping at the bit to!

Our co-founders and CTO have spent this month weighing a few possible directions — productivity, security and cryptocurrencies were on the table — and, starting January of next year, we plan to give one of them a whirl. What does this mean for our personalization apps?

Trying out new things means keeping the ‘old’ ship-shape

While everyone’s excited about a new direction, any kind of experimenting outside one’s comfort zone lives or die on their ability to sustain it during the first critical months. So, it stands to reason that our core business, aka the over ten thousand apps and themes we’ve created since 2013, won’t be demoted from our focus — on the contrary, we’re doubling down!

We’re just bringing in more help on the coding side of things, so that the team as a whole can cater to a larger brood of apps. Our personalization apps (the Redraw Suite and SMS apps most notable among the systemic main apps) are here to stay, especially considering the sizable chunk of Play Store downloads that they command on the perso vertical.

Our main apps — the systemic apps, aka keyboards, launchers, SMS apps and lock screen apps, that come packed with more features and functions than the default Android mains — racked up over 35 million downloads this year alone. Of course we love all our apps equally, but, if we were the proud papa-dev types, one of our top launcher apps, which led the pack with 14 million downloads in 2017, would get all the gold stars and a pony for Christmas!

Launcher apps have been particularly popular this year

Our skin apps — the themes, or skins, applied on top of the main apps for a change of look — make up the bulk of our portfolio. Android users all over have been dipping their phones into our sea of themes, but we’ve seen a lot of growth in emerging markets in particular, like India, Brazil and Indonesia. This jibes with the 2018 forecast figures released by App Annie, which posits that the growth trend in 2017 will only pick up the pace in these markets where large swathes of the population still don’t own a smartphone.

The results we’re seeing across our own portfolio are as impressive, in terms of numbers, as they are surprising when you take a step back to consider the differences in taste around the world.

While everyone, everywhere seems equally taken by the glowing purple butterflies on our most downloaded neon keyboard theme, a narrower focus on country-specific data reveals different preferences in terms of colors, styles and functionality. For instance, users in India are a passionate bunch who rank first on installs of Pink Love Keyboard, Flames Keyboard and Love Keypad Theme, while users in the US will much rather go in for the practicality of the changing color keyboard themes. By the same token, locker skins with electric and neon color schemes have had a better go of it in the US, as opposed to emerging markets, while everyone’s favored a calmer palette for their launcher — where Water Drops, Rose Gold, Black & White skins ranked highest.

2017’s most popular themes by T-Me Studios

Our next move? Watch this space and find out!

With over 3.5 million apps now available for download on the Play store, exponentially more than last year, the app ecosystem is arguably ripe for an overhaul as far as surfacing new apps. But we’re not worried — after four years spent at the top of the personalization app vertical on the Google Play Store, the T-Me Studios team has grown in both size and skill, insomuch as we’re fairly sure that, whatever our devs cook up, our expert marketers can get people interested in it.

How is this well-oiled machine going to work in the new year, after we diversify our portfolio with inroads into other verticals? Keep an eye out here and on our LinkedIn page and you’ll be the first to know!