January 7, 2014 Last Updated 9:52 am

Flurry sees app market maturation in December download figures

Like many of you, I receive those industry newsletters via email that are designed to give us instant analysis of the latest information. Usually the newsletters are right-on, but occasionally they misrepresent or omit something important.

Such was the case with a quick analysis of the latest app download stats from Flurry, the mobile measurement and advertising platform.

As is usually the case during the holidays, app downloads spiked during December, and on Christmas day specifically, as new tablets and smartphones are opened as gifts. For the past few years the spike in downloads has been impressively high – and so the knee-jerk reaction is to once again point to the numbers as proof-positive that apps remain on a growth spurt.

But Flurry’s own blog post says something interesting:

“The slowing growth rates and smaller Christmas Day app download spike signal market maturation,” Mary Ellen Gordon, PhD writes. “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.”

Overall-Growth-Flurry

As a rush, Flurry’s author speculates that the “gold rush days” may be over.

“Maturation of the app market means that changes are in store for app developers. The gold rush days of huge jumps in the overall size of the connected device installed base on Christmas, followed by a dizzying rush of app downloads are fading,” Gordon writes.

This may be premature, as the download growth numbers are still impressive. But I think that Gordon is pointing to something that should be plainly obvious: once someone has a mobile device they do not need to continue to download apps, but simply transfer those apps to the new device – the devices are specially designed for this. To prevent app transfers would be to suppress new device sales.

Throw on top of this the issue of app discoverability and you start to see a worrying trend: can developers continue to count on consumers having a rabid interest in new apps forever?

Read the Flurry blog post yourself, there is lots of excellent information there – no need to get the information second hand (like from TNM!).

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