Forget The Holiday Rush: Mobile App Downloads Did Better In January Than December

Mobile app marketing firm Fiksu has new data today on the effect the post-holiday rush on mobile devices had on the number of apps downloaded throughout the month of January. In short, downloads skyrocketed last month, even beating December’s numbers. iOS downloads reached an all-time high last month, the firm says, up 12% from its previous high in December, when the devices were originally unwrapped by their new owners. This trend seems to indicate that the fervor to load up a new phone or tablet with apps doesn’t just result in a temporary spike – the increased activity is sustained over weeks (and perhaps months) into the future.

The measurement known as the Fiksu App Store Competitive Index tracks the average aggregate daily download volume of the top 200 free U.S. iPhone apps. It peaked at 6.79 million daily downloads in January, up from December’s 6.04 million (or, as noted above, 12%).

To be clear, this firm tracks trends here in the U.S., so its findings are not globally relevant. Still, they seem to highlight how the traditional mindset around marketing has inched its way into the mobile app space.

Case  in point: in January, the cost to market mobile apps dropped significantly, falling 59% from December’s record high of $1.81 to just $1.14 last month. This is the more interesting data point for app marketers, because it shows a misconception about how marketing spend needs to work over the holidays. Apps are not Christmas presents, which have to be bought, wrapped and ready by a particular date – people continue to buy apps throughout January too, and beyond.


Although the advertisers rushed to drive up their app store rankings over the holidays, it turned out that January was actually a better month to acquire users than December was. Who knew?

Micah Adler, Fiksu CEO, advises app marketers to reconsider their marketing programs. Many app brands invest heavily in Q4 and then reduce spending in January as they evaluate their programs for the New Year and focus on version upgrades, he says. But January, note Adler, is “an excellent time for both growth and value – and budget-savvy marketers should take full advantage.”

Now they know for next year. Oh well.