It’s Looking Like a Sweet and ‘Appy New Year!

It’s Looking Like a Sweet and ‘Appy New Year!

Mobile App Usage Surged Over Holidays; App Usage Jumped, Too, Despite Fewer Users.

It’s official – app developers rival five year olds as Santa’s biggest fans.

As Saint Nick delivered a whopping 50 million iOS and Android devices during the entire Christmas week, app developers across the world had plenty of reason to be merry. Mobile app usage, as measured both by ad impressions and app downloads, saw double digit jumps on Christmas Day, with growth holding strong through New Year’s Day. Apps based on, on the other hand, saw a slight decrease in both usage and conversions on Christmas Day, but then rebounded from December 26th through Jan. 1st, despite a drop in unique visitors.

Mobile App Usage and Downloads Rose on Christmas And Peaked On New Year’s.

Millions of consumers awoke Christmas morning to new smartphone and tablet devices wrapped beneath the tree. Naturally, these new device owners sought to customize their devices with app downloads. On Christmas Day, app usage and downloads surged 25% and 23% respectively over the prior Tuesday, but during the period from December 26th to January 1st, there were even greater increases in both app usage and downloads. App usage and downloads were up an average of 34% and 50% respectively over the seven day period, and, most importantly, growth rates for app usage and conversions peaked at 47%and 57% on January 1st. App Downloads Plummeted on Christmas, Skyrocketed on New Year’s, Despite Fewer Users.

The holiday week was a bumpy one for app usage on The website experienced a decline in app usage on Christmas Day as users spent less time on their desktops and more time with family. Downloads were down 23.3%, impressions were down 20.4%, and unique visitors were down 26% versus the previous Tuesday. Despite the downturn on Christmas Day, overall app usage and conversions did grow over the remainder of the holiday period, from December 26th to New Year’s Day. app impressions and downloads were up slightly – an average of 7.7% and 9% respectively from Dec. 26th through Jan. 1st versus the prior week, though unique users were down 6% during the same period. This seems to indicate that had fewer app users over the holidays, but the remaining people who did engage with apps did so for increased periods of time.

The overall rise in app usage was driven by spikes on Friday, December 28th and Tuesday, January 1st. On the 28th, impressions jumped 9.7% and conversions 24.6%. On January 1st, the numbers were even more extreme: impressions jumped 18.8% while conversions skyrocketed more than 41%. This is despite a decrease in unique visitors of 18% vs. the previous “typical” Tuesday of December 18th. Perhaps January 1st should be called the ‘Appiest Day of the Year, at least for hardcore app users.

On a separate note, users turned increasingly to the mobile web for their app usage, as opposed to connecting via desktops (note that this data does not pertain to the Facebook mobile apps).  Usage and conversions from users accessing through the mobile web on iOS or Android were up an average of 7.7% and 24.6% respectively over the seven day period – an increase in conversions almost 3x that the increase in desktop usage conversions. That said, despite this dramatic shift towards the mobile web, app users still accessed via their desktops by a factor of 25.

As we predicted last November, this holiday season brought significant growth not just in new mobile device activations, but also in app usage and downloads, though more dramatically so for mobile apps than for apps.  For hardcore app users, January 1st was an app-intensive day.

We at LifeStreet predict that 2013 will be a sweet year both for mobile and social app developers.

‘Appy New Year!

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