By late October, children’s apps developer Toca Boca had notched up 16m downloads on iOS. Now that figure has increased to 22m downloads.
Those are split between 16 of the company’s ‘digital toys’ for iOS, although last week it released its first Android app – Toca Hair Salon 2, initially for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets. The first Toca Hair Salon app alone has generated 10m downloads, CEO Bjorn Jeffery tells TechCrunch.
It’s unclear how much money Toca Boca is making from all these downloads, as it hasn’t split out paid and free. The closest comparison might be US studio Duck Duck Moose, which announced in September (while taking a $7m funding round) that it had sold 2.4m paid downloads of its own children’s apps.
Toca Boca does have the backing of its parent company, Swedish media group Bonnier, which has provided the base for it to build a trusted brand among parents, and experiment with separate free versions of some apps – Toca Kitchen Monsters and Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift for example – to reach new parents.
2013 is feeling like an important year for the children’s app industry, and one in which there may be consolidation. While there are still hundreds of independent developers in this space, their challenge is to get their apps discovered on the app stores against media-backed or venture-funded studios on one hand, and famous family brands like Disney on the other.
That said, Jeffery says in the TechCrunch piece that Toca Boca may buy some indie studios in 2013, so talented developers struggling to reach an audience may find a more profitable home with his company or its rivals.