Media, Gaming Apps Outpace Shopping Apps On Thanksgiving

Use of mobile shopping apps spiked on Thanksgiving compared to the prior Thursday this year -- but only half as much as last year’s surge.

The number of sessions with shopping apps on Thanksgiving increased 26% from the week earlier, compared to 53% in 2012 and 44% in 2011. On Black Friday, they rose 21%, versus 50% last year and 33% in 2011. In a blog post Friday, Mary Ellen Gordon, Flurry’s head of research, suggested the drop-off this year doesn’t necessarily indicate less enthusiasm for shopping apps during the holiday.

Flurry examined app use from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday on more than 200 million devices.
“On the contrary, between 2012 and 2013, overall use of shopping apps in the week before Thanksgiving grew by about 70%, so the 2013 Thanksgiving spike comes on top of a higher baseline usage level,” she wrote. According to separate data from IBM, mobile overall accounted for 41% of online traffic during the Thanksgiving weekend -- up 35% from a year ago.
Still, the increased activity in two other popular app categories on Thanksgiving -- media and gaming -- was at ever higher levels this year. Sessions with media apps jumped 50% from the prior week, while those for game apps rose 36%, compared to 46% and 24% gains, respectively in 2012. People especially turn to photo and video apps to record family gatherings, and play games while relaxing.
Apps in categories like business and education, health and news all saw declines, with people hanging out with friends and family. Travel apps took an even bigger hit in terms of usage -- which may seem counterintuitive given that Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year. But Gordon notes that people are mostly heading to familiar places, so there is less need for apps for booking hotels or renting cars.
The number of U.S. app sessions on the Thanksgiving weekend overall has tripled in the last two years to about 7.2 billion, according to Flurry, reflecting the proliferation of smartphones and tablets in that time as well as their ubiquity in people’s lives.
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