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Two groups that benefit immensely from Christmas morning: app developers and the Catholic Church

Ah, Christmas morning. If you have children under 11, you’re probably up at 5am. It’s undoubtedly a magical time, but we hardly associate it with money — in fact, most people are off, most places are closed, and you’re probably diving into A Christmas Story on TBS or something like that (I’m thinking about doing some damage with Sons of Anarchy, where I am woefully behind; doesn’t seem exactly like a Christmas-type show, but I’m all about breaking rules, you know?). But despite a lack of association between Christmas and capitalism (on the day itself), there are two groups that do seem to benefit a bunch.

The first is app developers. You get a new iPad or Surface or Nexus under that tree? Once the festivities of everyone getting their gifts is over, you’re grabbing that thing and downloading new apps. Check this out: on Christmas Day 2012, there were 328 million new iOS and Android downloads. Oh, but world-wide that doesn’t seem like a lot, right? People are big into tablets these days. Actually, ’tis. From Dec. 1 – 20 of 2012, there were an average of 155 million new app downloads per day; essentially, Christmas morning doubled it. Device activations? An average of 4 million per day from 12/1-12/20; on Christmas? 17 million. (Quadrupled.) It should be noted a lot of these downloads are basic ones you’d expect — like Facebook — but the market out there is huge if an app can market itself right as “something you absolutely need to have when you get this device.” There are different strategies, from the good:

Some developers use straightforward tactics to grab attention, such as introducing new titles, cutting prices and hunting for press.

To the bad:

Others use digital-advertising campaigns to manipulate Apple’s rankings by guaranteeing a certain number of downloads and better visibility in the App Store. While Apple has attempted to clamp down on that strategy, the practice persists.

Regardless, ’tis big money and big risk:

Spending heavily on advertising creates financial risks. The cost of acquiring an iPhone user through an ad network is about $2.30 in December, more than double the cost in June, according to a report by SuperData, an analysis firm for mobile-game publishers. For that spending to be worthwhile, a game publisher needs to keep a new user playing for at least two months before a profit can be made, a period that’s an “eon in mobile game time,” the report said.

The second group here is the Catholic Church, although you could argue for an assortment of denominations. Catholic finances aren’t completely known — there are beliefs it’s $170 billion in America alonewhich would make it one of the largest companies in the world — but this article from The Economist is considered one of the better breakdowns of their financial state. In there, it’s argued that Christmas and Easter donations, annually, can add up to $90 million; those are the two biggest days of the year for donations in the Catholic Church (based on what we know). Last night I went to Catholic Mass and gave a paltry $5. I’d estimate there were 1,000 people in the church and almost everyone gave an envelope; apparently the Mass immediately before had 2,000 and they turned people away — and Midnight Mass had about that too. This is one church in one city on one day and it’s probably accounting for tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.

The third major avenue I could think of in terms of dropping dime on Christmas is the food industry. Here’s an article about how much people spend in the UK around Christmas. It seems like the standard element in a lot of Christmas-related meals is bread, but I couldn’t find any good stats about the bread industry and X-Mas, unfortunately.

Here’s the idea, though: you get up on Christmas morning, you download apps. You eat food, and you go to church. There’s your marker points. Oh, and you probably stream a few things, which ultimately leads to a pissing contest between Amazon and Netflix.

Ted Bauer

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