As predicted here on MobileCrunch earlier this month, Apple rocked it this holiday season, and the early numbers are showing it. According to Flurry, the biggest mobile app analytics company, iPod Touch download volume saw a nearly 1,000% jump in downloads on Christmas Day. Overall, the App Store saw a 51% increase in downloads from November to December (downloads only increased by 15% from October to November). Christmas also marked the first day that iPod Touch app downloads surpassed iPhone app downloads, which makes sense (the iPod Touch is a more common gift than an iPhone; more on that later). Furthermore, the Android Market saw a nice 20% bump in app sales as well, sparked primarily by an uptick in downloads from the Motorola Droid.
The data uncovers some interesting phenomena. First, it seems like parents bought iPod touches in droves. Flurry cited previous data that teens and pre-teens tend to download far more apps than older iPod and iPhone owners. VP of Marketing Peter Farago also noted that the iPod touch has clearly become a major player for Apple in terms of app sales. Second, Christmas is a huge day for app sales and app developers should take note. Just as the major retailers gear up for the holiday season, perhaps mobile app developers should be considering similar pre-Christmas preparations. If you’re developing an app at the end of the year, make sure to get it out before Christmas. Finally, I would expect an extremely strong Q1 from Apple. The data indicates that iPod touch sales skyrocketed leading up to Christmas, and that Apple’s App Store sales also saw a similar bump. Also expect the relatively smaller increase in month-to-month growth for Android to improve the value of Apple’s stock. It seems like, for now, they are defending themselves well against the Android OS. We’ll see whether that holds true after the Google Phone hits the market.
Santa delivered some good news for Motorola, too. The highest number of Android App Sales came from the Droid – in fact, 49% of all Android Apps sold on Christmas day came from that one handset. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to guess that the Droid is the best-selling Android-powered phone. That’s great news for Google, too, because it means that they are continuing to grow as a platform and that solid hardware (on the right network) can fuel that growth.
That said, the App Store is still destroying Android. Despite a lot of momentum and buzz behind Google’s vaunted, developer-friendly mobile OS, it really isn’t holding a candle to the iPhone OS. App Store downloads are 13 times greater than the Android Market. Additionally, the fact that the already-mature App Store saw a 50% monthly growth rate versus the Android Market’s 20% is impressive. One would think that the App Store growth would plateau at some point, but it doesn’t show any signs of leveling off just yet.
It’s important to remember that the data you’re seeing isn’t sales data, so of course many of the extrapolations are conjecture. It is plausible that the gap between the App Store and Android Market does not in any way relate to handset sales. Nonetheless, it is likely that the sale of the device would trend alongside app sales.