Smartphones and tablets have been the hottest Christmas gifts in recent years, and the 2012 holidays were by far the biggest yet for Android and iOS. A new study from mobile analytics firm Flurry has found that a record-breaking 17.4 million Android and iOS devices were activated on Christmas Day, leading to an equally record-breaking 328 million app downloads.
Not everyone who received a new smartphone or tablet from Santa activated it on Christmas Day, however. The surge was at its peak between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, when 50 million devices were activated. During the same period, a staggering 1.76 billion apps were downloaded on Android and iOS alone.
That’s the highest number of activations and the highest number of app downloads of any week in the history of the Android and iOS platforms.
The graph below shows the number of apps downloaded between December 25 and December 31 versus the average number of apps downloaded during the first two weeks of December. “The average downloads over these weeks were surprisingly even,” Flurry says. But during the final week of the year, downloads grew by over 65%.
Most of those, 604 million (34.3%), to be precise, went to users in the United States, while 183 million went to users in China. The United Kingdom was the only other market to account for more than 100 million downloads, with 132 million. Germany was in fourth place with 57 million downloads, while France and Canada both accounted for 54 million downloads.
Interestingly, China doesn’t even celebrate Christmas, with only 3% of its population being Christian.
Going into 2013, Flurry expects the trend of 1 billion downloads each week to become the norm, then rise again into 2 billion during the fourth quarter of the year.
Flurry’s data comes from more than 260,000 apps running on the “significant majority” of mobile devices, and it detects over 90% of all new devices activated each and every day. Its analytics service also serves more than 25% of all apps downloaded on any given day, allowing it to reliably estimate the total number of downloads to the Android and iOS platforms.