App marketing firm Fiksu says its monitoring of the top 200 free iPhone apps in the U.S. showed that the arrival of the iPhone 5 in late September triggered a massive surge in app downloads. When the newest iPhone appeared in stores and on doorsteps until Sept. 21, that final third of the month saw downloads up 33%.
In September, Fiksu measured 4.07 million downloads a day from the Apple App Store, just a bit above August’s level. But the internals of that number reveal that downloading was depressed during the days leading up to the iPhone 5’s arrival as many owners likely waited for the new device before bothering to upgrade apps.
As a result of the increased volumes, the cost to acquire a loyal app customer fell 16% to $1.13 from $1.34 in August. The bump in downloads brought efficiency to the market for buyers, According to Fiksu, one client saw a 20% spike in organic downloads of its app, with a 35% increase in revenue.
The marketers who pursued this new crops of downloaders did see an increase in overall ad volume and costs-per-click, Fiksu says, but the overall cost of acquiring a loyal user actually fell markedly. In fact, in reviewing Fiksu’s index of cost per loyal user over the past year, September saw its lowest level by a large margin. Since February of 2012, the previous low for acquiring users was $126 in May. But the Index climbed as high as $1.54 in July.
The 4.07 million daily downloads from the U.S. App Store for the month as a whole also represent the second lowest point of the year after an August low. In the post holiday fervor around stocking up new devices, daily downloads hit a high of 6.35 million in February.