App Downloads Slump On Weekdays, Especially For Paid Apps

On weekends, free iPhone apps in Apple’s U.S. App Store require about 10% more downloads to break into the top 10 than would be required on a Monday or Tuesday, according to a recent report from Distimo. For paid apps, Sundays were particular tough. Apps needed 13% more downloads to break into the top 10 than on Mondays. 

These are interesting statistics for developers eager for a top 10 app hit. But more importantly, they indicate that app download volumes are significantly higher on weekends than weekdays. 

That may point to a correlation between app downloads and leisure time: when smartphone owners are free from work and weekday obligations, they are more inclined to test out a new app on their smartphone. 

A caveat: Distimo’s analysis is weighted toward game app downloads, since gaming is the most common category in the top 10 slots, both in the free and paid app leaderboards (though photo, messaging and social apps also make an appearance). 

Interestingly, the discrepancy between app downloads on weekends and mid-week is greater for paid apps. Paid download volumes drop more sharply over the course of the week. On Wednesdays, it only takes 87% as many paid downloads to break into the top 10 as it does on a Monday. Free apps are steadier. 

For this analysis, Distimo analysed the 10th-ranked iPhone app in Apple’s U.S. App Store every day throughout the course of May, averaging the downloads of apps in that position on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, etc.

The averages for Monday were indexed to 100. So variations from 100 indicate a percentage fluctuation in terms of the average number of downloads needed to reach the top 10 threshold for that day of the week. 

For developers, the results seem to point to possible strategies for App Store Optimization (ASO). ASO has become a popular marketing method for mobile app publishers to secure added visibility for their apps. So, publishers who are after download revenue might want to chase higher download volumes on the weekend, while those anxious for reaching the top 10 showcase might use ASO to chase rankings mid-week.  

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