The new Fiksu report on Apple’s App Store has a fascinating nugget about its daily download volume, which in April ticked up to 5.61 million app downloads from 5.02 million in March. But that level is still far below January’s 6.1 million apps and only marginally above October 2012 level of 5.4 million downloads. Fiksu measures top-200 free downloads, but this is a category that should be growing faster than paid downloads due to an industry shift towards free-to-play model. So the App Store download trend of both paid and free apps could be even weaker than what Fiksu reports.
Of course, January is exceptionally strong month due to consumers who received a Christmas iPhone going on download sprees. But having an April download volume still nearly 10% below the January level is a bit of a downer for the app industry. It’s clear that the iPhone volume sales growth slowdown to single digits in America is having a substantial impact on download volumes. This is one reason why Google Play is narrowing the download gap so rapidly: Not only has the user experience and app selection of Google Play improved over the past 18 months, but Apple’s own app download growth has ground to a halt at least in the dominant U.S. market.