I ran across this headline earlier in the week, and the clever turn-of-phrase both extended the holiday cheer here at CTIA and highlighted a remarkable achievement in the mobile market: 1.2 billion apps were downloaded during the last week of 2011, and that’s just for iOS and Android, according to Flurry. One-point-two-billion! While the growth in app downloads has been nothing short of amazing, this marks the first time that app downloads have broken the “billion download barrier” in one week.
The week of December 25-31 set other records as well, including 20 million iOS and Android devices activated and, on Christmas day alone, 242 million app downloads and 6.8 million device activations! Many of these users were gaining their first experience with smart devices and the apps world. And the marketplace is, of course, growing beyond iOS and Android – for example, allaboutwindowsphone.com reported last week that Windows Phone Marketplace reached 50,000 unique apps, and while “[i]t took just over a year to get to 40,000 apps, [it took] just 40 days to add the next 10,000 apps.” (‘All About’ notes that it took Apple 12 months to reach 50,000 apps and Android 19 months.) The app story is yet more evidence of the vibrant and robust mobile ecosystem.
And notably, the U.S. market continues to lead the way. Of the 1.2 billion downloads reported by Flurry, the U.S. accounted for 509 million, or 42.3%! All told, U.S. users downloaded more apps than the rest of the top 15 countries combined. Let me say that again, the U.S. downloads were more than China, U.K., Canada, Germany, France, South Korea, Australia, Italy, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Netherlands and Saudi Arabia combined.
While this U.S. leadership is striking, it should not be surprising, as CTIA recently proved in a filing to the FCC. The United States is the global leader in mobile broadband. Even though the U.S. comprises less than 5% of the global population and has less than 6% of the world’s mobile wireless subscribers, it is home to more than 20% of global 3G and 4G subscribers and approximately 87% of the global LTE subscribers.
This outsized position results directly from what we’ve termed the “virtuous cycle” in the mobile ecosystem, in which innovation in mobile broadband networks, services, devices, operating systems and applications drives further growth, which creates even more innovation. Spectrum, of course, is a key element. As CTIA recently observed, “[t]his cycle, driven by competition, not regulation, has produced immense benefits for U.S. consumers who enjoy some of the most ubiquitous, least expensive and most advanced mobile networks, devices, services and applications in the world.”
As the apps world develops, so does the entire mobile ecosystem. So, with apologies to Dick Clark, I’ll wrap up by wishing everyone a very productive and “Appy” New Year!