Mobile App Download Volumes Hit Record High In November

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Downtime from work and other responsibilities over the Thanksgiving break here in the U.S. saw consumers downloading applications in record numbers, according to a new report out this morning from mobile marketers Fiksu. The firm says its “App Store Competitive Index,” which tracks the aggregate average daily download volume of the top 200 free iOS apps, reached 8.1 million downloads last month, propelled in particular by new iPhone purchases and increased activity over the Thanksgiving holiday. Compared with last year, app download volumes grew 42% in November.

Fiksu CEO Micah Adler says he expects the trend to continue over the December holidays and even into January.

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This increase in downloads in November also contributed to decreases in the costs required to acquire users – a key part to growing any mobile app business. The Cost per Loyal User Index declined 27% to $1.58 in November, down 12% year-over-year as new users were busy loading up recently purchasing iPhones with favorite and recommended apps, especially over the holidays.

Because those downloads were considered “organic” – meaning users were downloading apps on their own, not because of advertisements or other marketing campaigns – the costs associated with those marketing efforts decreased. But they’re sure to creep back up this month and the next, after the Christmas holidays, as mobile companies traditionally compete more fiercely to be among the first apps installed on new mobile devices, often received as holiday gifts.

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In addition, the cost to acquire loyal users decreased because, as an overall trend, loyal users on mobile seem to be growing.

Fiksu’s data backs up earlier findings from analytics firm Localytics, which said earlier this year that users’ time spent in mobile applications was generally on the rise. In September, it found that people were becoming more attached to apps overall, as time spent using them grew 21% over last year. In fact, people were spending so much time in apps that it now exceeds time spent on the desktop web, said Localytics.

More frequent app launches then drive a greater time in the app, as well. Fiksu’s said it saw this trend continuing. Time in-app increased by 21%, and frequency of opening apps increased to 11.5 times per month, up from 9.4 times a year ago.

Most recently, we’ve seen this trend on display with popular apps like Snapchat, which continued to see growth, including with usage and user engagement, despite bad PR like the hack dubbed the “Snappening” where users’ private, racy photos were exposed publicly.

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Finally, in November, the costs associated with driving engagement from mobile users – or Fiksu’s Cost per Launch Index – also fell, decreasing to $0.21 on iOS, or down 20%, from October, and falling 16% on Android.

More info is available on Fiksu’s full report here.