Blog index

Holiday Season: Huge Downloads Spikes Expected!

by ,  CMO at AppTweak App Market Insights

The Apple App Store is closing for 5 days during the Holiday Season, while this period is actually the busiest in terms of app downloads! We highly encourage you to update your App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy before Christmas in order to benefit from this spike. Discover our latest observations based on download data collected for over 2 years!

2017, busy year for the App Stores!

Christmas time and the Holiday season are around the corner… It’s time for a little retrospective! How has your ASO been doing in 2017? You may have experienced a lot of changes and fluctuations in your app’s visibility and overall downloads performance. This is actually “normal” given the amount of algorithm updates and releases which happened lately.

Indeed, a lot has been going on this year in the stores. The major iOS11 update from Apple and the release of new available Search Ads countries were certainly key moments.

We hope that, by now, you have properly updated your app according to the latest iOS best practices. Check out this blog post if you’re not sure how to do so.

We also do hope that you’re taking advantage of Search Ads (if they’re available in your region), as their impact is considerable. Make sure to read our latest Search Ads best practices to boost your campaigns!

iTunes Connect is closed during Christmas!

As you probably know, the Apple App Store is closed during Christmas time. New apps and app updates will not be accepted from December 23 to December 27.

What does this mean? All new releases need to be submitted and approved in advance, prior these dates.

Given that the holiday period is always the busiest season of the year on the App Store, it is crucial to get your app ready for it! The holidays mean presents, which means new smartphones, new apps… and new downloads!

We don’t mean to worry you here but… this period of the year is probably the most important for you, app developers and marketers!

If you’re still doubting the huge impact of Christmas on downloads, make sure to read the rest of this post. We’ve actually observed huge spikes in terms of app downloads around this period of the year.

Plus, everything points to Christmas 2017 bringing many more app downloads than during the rest of the year. Be ready, we’re going to show you everything!

Huge downloads spikes on key dates

We have extracted the data we’ve collected in order to show you the evolution of app downloads over the past 2 years.

The graph below shows the amount of daily app downloads in all categories (US - Apple App Store) from November 2016 to January 2017. As you can see, we noted a huge increase (up to x5!) in downloads on December 25 (Christmas day).

This can clearly be explained by the increased amount of sold devices and therefore, of app downloads.


Image Source: AppTweak

We thought it would be interesting to collect and show you the same data for different categories.

Let’s review some of them!

1. Games & Entertainment categories

Christmas morning means that Santa has left a lot of presents under the Christmas tree (only if you’ve been good though!). With all those gifts comes the envy to play. Last year, we noticed that apps in the Games & Entertainment Categorie were downloaded respectively 12 and 14 times more than usual on Christmas day.

In fact, these categories see the highest download peaks during this holiday period. Make sure that your app is well visible for this rush!



Image Source: AppTweak

2. Health & Fitness category

We all know New Year comes with its New Year Resolutions. Who doesn’t want to start the year on the right track? So what’s the first thing you do after having eaten too much on Christmas and drank too much on New Year’s Eve? You got it! You want to get your summer body back! You therefore subscribe to a fitness app. And that’s exactly what we see on the App Store: thousands of good intentioned users ready for a fresh and healthy start.

The Health & Fitness category sees a x3 spike in downloads right at the beginning of the year.

Huge peak in download for Health and Fitness apps at New Year

Image Source: AppTweak

3. Shopping category

Of course, we all wait for Black Friday to get the best shopping deals of the year, and this has an impact on the App Store.

Last year, downloads for apps in the Shopping category tripled during Black Friday (November 25, 2016).


This year, the impact was even bigger with downloads being 4 times higher than usual (November 24, 2017).


Image Source: AppTweak

Also, a similar boost, although less pronounced, was observed during the 2016 Christmas holidays and can be expected this year too.

4. Food & Drinks category

The Holiday Season is the perfect time to relax and spend time with friends and family. What’s a better way than sharing a good meal all together? We’ve seen that apps in the Food & Drink Category had a huge boost in downloads (up to x4.5!) during last year’s Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.


Image Source: AppTweak

Thanksgiving 2017 confirmed this trend with a peak of up to x6 downloads! If you have a Food & Drink app, make sure you’re in the top ranks for Christmas!


Image Source: AppTweak

As you’ve seen, the numbers spoke for themselves. The Apple App Store is experiencing a huge increase in app downloads around the end of the year. This is the perfect occasion to update your app and leverage your app marketing strategy for the Holiday Season.

Not only you can update your app’s visuals with a joyful Xmas Spirit, it is also crucial to add relevant keywords in your keywords set and metadata!

Try finding keywords that have gained in Search Popularity (Volume) recently and that would relate to your app at the same time.

Expert Tip: Christmas Top Growth Search Popularity Keywords

If you’re looking for a head’s up on popular words during Christmas, these are the words that had a major increase in Search Popularity around Christmas last year:

  • christmas (47 -> 63)
  • christmas apps (74 -> 96)
  • christmas games (49 -> 74)
  • christmas games for free (27 -> 56)
  • christmas games for kids (14 -> 42)
  • christmas gift list (24 -> 32)
  • new year (13 -> 25)
  • new years resolutions (25 -> 31)
  • santa tracker (49 -> 67)
  • xmas (8 -> 29)
  • xmas games (23 -> 31)
  • free christmas games (25 -> 49)

Hurry Up! Update your app before the App Store closes!

As you can see, not only do app downloads increase during Christmas, app store users’ interest in Christmas related searches increases as well!

The Holiday Season spirit is a huge opportunity for your app marketing and App Store Optimization (ASO) strategies. Make sure to benefit from this opportunity to get more downloads!

We would be very happy to help you in the process. You can use our Keyword Tool to find the best keywords and detect the highest growth Search Popularity keywords.

Our Keyword Monitoring tools enable you to monitor your app’s keywords’ visibility over time and compare your performance to your competitors.

We hope that this post was insightful! Let us know if you want more posts of this kind in the future. We have lots of interesting data to share with you!

▶ Update my app for Christmas! ◀

by ,  CMO at AppTweak

Laurie is CMO at AppTweak and joined the company in its early stages. She's passionate about new technologies and mobile marketing. Oh and also about sushis.