App Buying Cycles

App buying cycles vary with each customer. Some people buy apps daily for a few days or weeks and then they get busy with other things and don't buy again for a few weeks. Other buyers will make an app purchase (or free download) a couple of times a week. Some people only buy an app monthly. And other app buyers show no pattern at all, only buying and browsing the Android Market every once in awhile. App activity for new buyers of the Android platform is strongest when they first purchase the device and then over time their buying activity tends to taper off.

In Q1 2010, reported in late January 2010, Google and other Android phones sold 10 million units worldwide. Android has also reported that 100,000 Android phones sold in China, which is just getting started using the phone. So, there are millions of new customers all looking for apps to download, and you have a vast market waiting to buy your apps.

The problem with many apps is that they are downloaded and used only once or twice and then they are not looked at again. Buyers have limited dollars and limited space to store apps. So, they are choosy about the apps they download, even the free ones. After a buyer reaches a saturation point of apps, he or she generally tends to use only a few apps on a regular basis that help with daily activities.

So, even though someone may have downloaded 148 apps, that person will tend to use ten or fewer on a daily basis. The rest of the apps just sit there and aren't used much at all. Occasionally, a buyer will do an inventory of his or her apps and delete ones that are no longer appealing. Apps that are useful and frequently updated will remain on most people's Android.

Some app sales are definitely influenced by seasonal activities such as the weather, sports, holidays, current trends, and so on. As a marketer, you want to make sure you understand the external influences that may impact sales of your app during the year. Timing the delivery of your app becomes more important if your app is seasonal. If you release a Super Bowl app in July, you may not see as many sales as you would if you released it in December or January.

Many Android games are somewhat immune from this issue because they can be played year round and aren't tied to any particular season. Holiday-themed games will definitely see more sales around the particular holiday on which the app is based. Racing games and mind-challenging apps are not tied to any holiday and can be sold all year.

If you are developing a very seasonal type of app, think about building multiple seasonal apps to cover the entire year. If you build multiple apps you'll have a steadier stream of income. If one app is selling slowly, another app may pick up the slack.

Other utility-type apps will be influenced by the time of year that the app is most likely to be used. Tax-related apps, for example, will have a stronger showing early in the year due to the April 15th tax deadline in the U.S. Other countries will have similar deadlines, and if your app is focused on another country you'll experience the same thing. Financial apps such as banking, personal finance, and so on will do well during the entire year due to their daily use.

Health and lifestyle apps will also do fairly well during the entire year unless the apps recommend activities outdoors that are not suited to the current season.

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