iOS, Android downloads eclipse 1B a week as 2012 dawns

Jason Ankenyeditor's corner

It's a new year, and already a very happy one for mobile developers. Application analytics provider Flurry estimates that consumers activated 6.8 million Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android devices on Christmas Day and downloaded 242 million applications, destroying previous single-day records in the process. Christmas is always the largest mobile device activation day of the calendar year, but the momentum continued through the end of the month: Flurry reported Monday that between Dec. 25 and Dec. 31, subscribers activated more than 20 million iOS and Android devices in all, with app downloads topping 1.2 billion--both new single-week records, and the first time downloads have eclipsed the 1 billion milestone over a seven-day span.

The U.S. market generated 509 million downloads during the final week of 2011, accounting for 42.3 percent of all iOS and Android installs worldwide. China is next with 99 million downloads. "It's important to note that the celebration of Christmas as a holiday impacted download performance," writes Flurry vice president of marketing Peter Farago on the firm's blog. "While the United States widely celebrates Christmas, China is largely non-religious, with over 60 percent of the population considering themselves agnostic or atheist." At the same time, nations like the United Kingdom (81 million downloads), Canada (41 million), Germany (40 million, France (40 million), Australia (28 million), Italy (25 million), Spain (20 million) and Mexico (17 million) all over-indexed compared to non-Christian countries like South Korea (34 million downloads) and Japan (20 million), which respectively boast the fourth and fifth largest smart device installed bases of all nations. 

But just because the holiday season is over doesn't mean that app download totals are set to taper off. Flurry expects iOS and Android installs to shatter a billion a week on a regular basis as 2012 unfolds. "While iOS and Android growth continues to amaze, the market is still by all measures relatively nascent," Farago notes. In other words, the billion download benchmark may seem new and exciting right now, but look for it to become old hat before you know it. Which is pretty damn exciting in and of itself.--Jason