iPhone 5's launch leads to 33% spike in AppStore downloads

The costs to app developers of snagging new customers also drops

Every time a new iPhone launches, AppStore downloads soar -- and app developers cheer.

After the iPhone 5 launch on Sept. 21, the number of daily App Store downloads in October reached 5.4 million, creating a 33% spike over all downloads of September. That's according to Fiksu, an analytics firm that tracks monthly downloads.

When the iPhone 4S launched in 2011, AppStore downloads surged by 29%, Fiksu analyst Viki Zabala said.

For several weeks, before the iPhone 5 arrived, downloads actually had decreased by 3%, Zabala had noted in an earlier blog.

"History has shown us the arrival of a new mobile device generates remarkable opportunities for app marketers to cost-effectively acquire and engage new users as download volumes surge, costs to acquire loyal users plummet and user-interest levels peak," Zabala said.

Zabala said that one app developer, which she didn't name, saw a 20% increase in downloads and 35% revenue gains after the iPhone 5 launch. The iPad Mini launch in October is expected to continue the AppStore download wave generated by the iPhone 5's arrival.

The impact of an iPhone launch on app downloads is much greater than for a single Android phone, several analysts said, because Android phones are launched more often and by multiple vendors, spreading out the interest in Android apps. The Apple App Store generates about fourth times the revenue of Google Play, analytics firm App Annie said last week.

Fiksu also reported that it costs developers less to attract buyers to their apps during surges after a new iPhone is launched. After the iPhone 5 launched, the cost per user dropped to $1.06 in October, from September's $1.13, Zabala reported.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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