According to app acquisition platform Fiksu and its ongoing index of download activity, app downloads of the top 200 free apps to iPhones dropped 30% in March. The number of apps that users were installing on their devices was off by two million downloads a day (4.45 million) from its February rate of 6.35 million.
Daily download activity had peaked in January at 6.7 million. And the decline was expected, Fiksu says. Download activity had been on the rise for iPhones since the announcement of the 4S model late in 2011, and the holiday gifting season pumped new owners into the market who tend to go app-happy for the first few weeks they own a device. Fiksu also speculates that tighter controls at Apple around apps that auto-install other apps have affected the number of overall downloads from the store.
The cost of acquiring new app customers leveled off after the volatility of the holiday. According to Fiksu’s Cost per Loyal User Index, the cost of acquiring a user who opens that app at least three times was $1.30, down negligibly from the previous month’s $1.31 and down significantly from the peak in December 2011 of $1.81. App makers market heavily during December to get their apps high on the Apple App Store rankings right before the holiday and get maximum visibility to new device owners.
Fiksu is a marketing company that sells app customer acquisition programs, and so its metrics are restricted to its own customers. It claims to track app download behavior and user loyalty from 21 billion app actions across 280 million downloads among the apps it markets.