For those of you who believe the mobile economy is still in gold rush/bubble territory — an industry whose greatest growth years are in front of it — think again.
Flurry, one of the larger mobile ad companies, measured device activations and app download traffic over Christmas and discovered that Christmas Day — which usually gets a huge spike in activation and download activity — is increasingly becoming just like any other day in AppLand. Because we all have mobile devices already, the Christmas spike for new apps and new devices is getting smaller and smaller
Here’s what that spike on Christmas Day looks like when indexed, where a score of 1 equals a regular December day:
Note that for the first time, app downloads on Christmas Day were less than twice what they are on a regular day.
Flurry measured activity across 400,000 apps globally:
The slowing growth rates and smaller Christmas Day app download spike signal market maturation. Many consumers in Western Europe and English-speaking countries — large mobile markets where Christmas is a big holiday — already have a smartphone and / or a tablet. Fewer people are coming online with mobile for the very first time. Consumers who are on second, third or fourth devices have apps that they like and trust, and while they still download new apps, there isn’t much more impetus to do so on Christmas than any other day when they have a little downtime.
Now here’s what the growth of Christmas app downloads looks like in percentage terms:
Download growth on Christmas is only 11% greater this year than it was last year. Previously, download growth was 90%. The market is still growing, in other words, just much more slowly.
Only media app downloads are still growing. Growth in social and lifestyle is in decline — which is to be expected. How many more Facebooks do you need?