What a Christmas Week! On Christmas Day itself, 17.4 million iOS and Android devices were activated. This is a record all on its own, but the rest of the week proved worthy of Christmas Day. For the week following Christmas, an amazing and record-obliterating 50+ million iOS and Android-powered smartphones and tablets were activated. No doubt due in part to those new device activations, a record 1.76 billion mobile apps were downloaded over the week.
These numbers come to us by way of mobile analytics firm Flurry, which has developed a method and algorithm for both tracking and assessing mobile activations and app downloads. Flurry has been around since 2008 and functions primarily as a mobile ad analysis firm, and uses its tools to help companies determine the best ways to put mobile advertising to use.
Flurry is doing quite well, and in November 2012, Crosslink Capital led a new $25 million round for the company, with participation from existing investors, including Menlo Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, InterWest Partners, Union Square Ventures, First Round Capital and Draper Richards. Flurry CEO Simon Khalaf claims that Flurry's revenue is on track to hit $80 million to $100 million for 2012, up 300 percent over 2011. The company is also cash-flow positive, and is likely to go public in 2013.
Flurry is essentially a company that operates on "big data,” which will surely play well with potential IPO investors. Flurry currently gathers over 1.5 terabytes of information every day from (currently) 1.9 billion mobile app sessions daily. These app sessions in turn are driven through Flurry sitting on (currently) over 230,000 mobile apps.
Based on its big data analysis Flurry is able to deliver highly accurate estimates of app usage, ad visibility, and other related observations, such as being able to pinpoint device activations and app downloads as it has done for both Christmas Day and the week that followed. Peter Farago, Flurry's vice president of marketing says that “The last week of 2012 was the largest week for both new device activations and app downloads in iOS and Android history.” The chart below shows the levels of downloads for both the week described above as well as the weeks preceding Christmas day.
As the chart shows, the average for the weeks that preceded Christmas were more or less extraordinary on their own, with just over a billion apps downloaded daily. Following Christmas the chart demonstrates the significant 76 percent leap we began our discussion with. Farago further notes that "For the same week in 2011, which previously held the record for total number of downloads, Flurry recorded many fewer device activations, including only 6.8 million activations on Christmas day." At the time those activations of course were huge to all concerned. Dare we anticipate what kind of numbers Apple will report in its next earnings report next month?
Flurry is also able to track where mobile app downloads come from on a global basis. This is very interesting to note, as the chart below shows.
The overwhelming number of downloads came, of course, from the United States, which took the honor with 604 million mobile app downloads in the last week of 2012. The United Kingdom weighed in with 132 million, and Germany, France, and Canada contributed a collective 165 million downloads.
These countries of course all celebrate Christmas so the download correlations to the holiday are clear. It is nevertheless worth noting that China now sits in second place with 183 million downloads even though it has no related Christmas Day jump associated with it. China is simply an extraordinarily large market and it's no small wonder that all mobile device vendors are intently focused on it.
Farago also points out that Flurry now anticipates billion-download weeks to become the new normal in 2013. What are the odds that we'll see a two billion-download 2013 Christmas week download total? That is a given; the real question is, how many downloads over 2 billion will we see?
For additional charts and details on the Christmas week mobile extravaganza, check out Flurry's blog.
Edited by Rich Steeves