‘The Golden Quarter’ is the time of year where companies worldwide begin to make the most profit. In the US and Canada, the Golden Quarter is also known as the Christmas Creep, as companies rely on customers shopping for Christmas to boost their sales. Traditionally, the quarter begins on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the US. The name ‘Black Friday’ came about was in part due to the idea that stores would begin to turn a profit, or ‘be in the black’, after that day.
The idea of the Golden Quarter is prevalent in the gaming industry too. Many triple A title releases are saved for this period, in order to maximise sales. Call of Duty: Ghosts and Wasteland 2 are two such examples from this year’s release calendar.
New consoles are also often released in the quarter to boost sales. With the release of both the PS4 and the Xbox One just around the corner, it’s hard not to be reminded of the midnight releases and huge lines outside gaming stores for the preceding machines, the PS3 and Xbox 360.
This also holds true to the downloads industry. While the numbers don’t jump in the run up to Christmas, in the week after they leap significantly. According to Flurry Analytics, in 2011 the numbers were at 1.2 billion downloads, in 2012 it had gone up to 1.7 billion. Interestingly, the US made up 42% of the total downloads.
A great number of these can be attributed to gift cards for app marketplaces, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play, given as gifts for Christmas. Also, there are the huge numbers of gadgets given as gifts during this period. The iPad Mini was the most in demand Christmas gift of 2012.
So what does this mean to the download industry? The market is different, as people will not be looking to buy apps in the Christmas rush as usually, one cannot give a specific app as a gift. However, the market in the week after Christmas is certainly one to be considered. Ay customer with a brand new machine, gift card, or both in their hands, will be looking for a huge swathe of new and exciting apps to download.
Perhaps this week can be considered the app market’s own ‘Golden Quarter’. With the growing popularity of apps, and the media attention they now garner, perhaps this would be the time for developers to emulate the video gaming industry and time their big releases for this period. With the market has grown and is continuing to grow, we can only expect the app market to become a major player in the gaming scene.