App Store saw rare drop-off in downloads in March
Seasonal trends and crackdown on robot services caused slowdown, according to reports from Fiksu
Published: 30 April, 2012
Downloads from Apple's App Store fell by 30% in March 2012, their weakest performance since the launch of the iPhone 4S, according to mobile user acquisition platform Fiksu.
Fiksu's App Store Competitive Index measures the average aggregated download volume of the top 200 free iPhone apps in the US, on a daily basis. It said last week that users installed an average of 4.45m iPhone apps per day in March, down from 6.35m in February. Fiksu's
The iOS figures are still huge, and there are many ways to measure an app store's performance, but such indicators add to the nervousness that, if Apple waits until October again to launch a new iPhone model, it will spend a dangerously long period without a new offering - at a time when high profile new gadgets, like the HTC One family and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy SIII, will be heavily marketed. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak even gave the Nokia Lumia 900 a boost over the weekend, when he said its WP7 Mango user interface made the handset "more like a friend than a tool". He told an interview: "Every screen is much more beautiful than the same apps on Android and iPhone."
As well as seasonal trends, Fiksu also sees other factors behind the drop in iOS downloads in March. One, it said, could be the impact of Apple's efforts to stop developers and marketers using robotic installation services, which artificially inflate App Store rankings. A statement posted to the Apple Developers page in February reads: "When you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership."
Adler added: "The decline in competition and steady costs definitely presented app marketers with a ranking opportunity in March, driven largely through the cost effective conversion of organic users into loyal users."