Holiday App Installs UNWRAPPED!
3 mins

‘Tis the season to be jolly…’ As we heard the carol singers and jingle bells ringing, there was also the sound of wrapping paper being unwrapped and cries of joy when a loved one received a brand new mobile phone! Christmas is the day of gathering around a tree, exchanging and opening gifts, and sharing joy.

Over the past few years, mobile phones have become an extremely popular and highly desirable gift item during the holiday season. Consequently, the highest number of new device activations and app downloads are seen on Christmas day. Using the Quettra lens, we observed 10 million Android users across the globe on December 25th to understand who was on Santa’s “good list” and which apps were the absolute “must-have” treats that users installed on their new devices.

Huge world wide lift in new device activations on Christmas Day, Towering lift seen in US

Device Activations Worldwide

We analyzed new Android activations in the weeks surrounding Christmas day from Dec. 19 to Jan. 1 and used Dec 19 as our baseline for comparison. Worldwide there was a huge uptick (59%) of new device activations on Christmas day. The US, as expected, saw a ginormous 149% rise of Christmas day activations. The US has always been a top selling market for smart phones, and Christmas being the most anticipated holiday explains this colossal lift. Overall, we observed that regions where Christmas is widely celebrated such as North America, Europe and South America showed an impressive uptick while other regions such as Asia, and Africa did not show any significant rise.

Social Networking apps are a “must-have” and Facebook, Inc. was the biggest winner.

Social networking apps Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram topped the list of apps users installed when they got their new devices, indicating that these apps have become the “bare-essential” and “cannot-live-without” apps. Facebook, Inc. owns all of these and is the undisputed winner here. Other apps featured on this list were some of the top gaming apps (Subway Surfer, Candy Crush Saga), media centric apps (MX player, Pandora,), and communication apps (Skype, Viber, Line). Social Networking has become an integral part of our lifestyle. Consciously and subconsciously there is an urge to check and post messages and status updates. This addictive behavior is reflected in the top installed apps. Christmas time is a time for leisure and a time to connect with family and friends. This explains the installs of communication, multimedia and gaming apps. Another breakout app was the Retrica camera app that is especially popular in South America.

It was interesting to see that apps such as Snapchat, Kik, Netflix, and Uber were part of the top installed apps in US indicating a new trend of popularity for these apps. Another insightful titbit to notice was that Google Translator was amongst the top installed apps in Europe. Since Europe houses countries speaking different languages, the translator app appears to have a high value and utility in this region. We also observed that BlackBerry Messenger, despite losing its popularity in North America, and Europe, was still popular in continents such as Asia, South America, and Africa.

The Global Top 10 most installed apps on new devices between 12/19/14-1/1/15:

The Global Top 10 Apps

Other Popular Apps by Region:

Apps Popular in North America
Apps Popular in Europe
Apps Popular in Asia
Apps Popular in South America
Apps Popular in Africa

Ring in the new!

Our analysis from this year ending provides insights about future trends and what might “ring-in” in 2015. Social networking apps dominate the app market, and this trend is likely to continue. Despite the worldwide popularity of Facebook apps, we see localized social networking apps such as WeChat in Asia, VK in Europe, Snapchat and Kik in North America holding their ground. Multi-media apps such as Netflix and service locating apps such as Uber continue their popularity in the US. In addition to Skype for communication, another app that is popular in emerging economies of Asia and South America is LINE. Further international growth of LINE will be interesting to track as we go through 2015.From a device perspective, Samsung devices dominate the Android smartphone scene. Overall, it’s been fascinating to watch the app trends change over the year. As we turn the page on 2014, we look forward to an app-fabulous 2015.