The New Norm: Expect App Downloads to Regularly Hit One Billion a Week

The last week of 2012 marks the largest period ever for new device activations and app downloads for both iOS and Android.

Overall, it was a very appy holiday season for the mobile industry, according to Flurry, which is known for producing reports based on the information it gathers through the thousands of developers who use its analytics tools.

In its report today, Flurry said that more than 50 million iOS and Android tablets and smartphones were activated from Christmas to New Year’s Eve, and 1.76 billion applications were downloaded worldwide during that period. That’s a huge jump from last year’s figures.

In comparison, Flurry estimated last year that 1.2 billion apps were downloaded worldwide across both Android and iOS.

Here is a chart comparing the holiday week to the same number of days earlier in December:


The year-over-year progress shows just how commonplace app downloading is around the globe.

In fact, this year Flurry said that a number of weeks since late November delivered more than a billion downloads, which just last year was considered record-shattering. This year, it is forecasting that a billion weekly downloads could become a regular occurrence.

“Looking forward to 2013, Flurry expects the trend of one-billion-download weeks to become the norm, and that the industry will surpass the two-billion download week during Q4,” wrote Flurry marketing VP Peter Farago in a blog post.

Most of these downloads are still occurring in the U.S., where there is widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets. During the week, the U.S. downloaded 604 million applications, or 34.3 percent of the total. China is not exactly a close second with 183 million downloads, and the U.K., Germany and France are much further behind.

Based on Flurry’s previous reports, one of the most popular app categories is games. And based on evidence from at least two game companies, that continued to be the case this holiday season, as people picked up their phones and tablets for entertainment during their time off.

Disney Mobile said game downloads jumped 98 percent year over year to more than 15 million in 2012, from Dec. 22 to Dec. 28. It benefited from new titles such as Where’s My Holiday? and Nemo’s Reef and Monsters climbing the charts. Separately, Storm8, which publishes such titles as Dragon Story, City Story and Jewel Mania, reported that it had two million game downloads on Christmas Day, an increase of four times compared to an average Tuesday.

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— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik