Why Christmas is the best day to sell iPhone Apps

The Bump
So, I updated my AppViz software when I got home today and surprisingly, I saw a big bump in my ShakeItPhoto sales on Christmas day. This got me thinking about what would cause such a spike. What would cause my sales to practically double going into Christmas?


First, I thought that ShakeItPhoto was reviewed or featured in an article online or in a magazine. I looked around online and checked my google alerts and didn’t see any reviews or articles that came out. Nothing there. Second, I checked twitter to see if I could find any info about what was causing such a big jump in sales. There were the usual tweets of people showing off their favorite photos, but nothing that would cause such a jump.

So, that got me thinking. With internet use during christmas being as low as it is, and without an article or an ad to promote my product, what was doing all the selling? People! People were selling ShakeItPhoto by showing their friends during the holidays. The holidays are all about people getting together, talking about their year and, of course, showing off their toys. My theory goes… As a family member pulls out their iPhone during Christmas, they want to show off the device to their nephew, aunt, mom, whatever. They will open some of their favorite apps (hopefully ShakeItPhoto) and show others what their new phone does. This works well too when someone receives an iPhone as a gift. People pull out their phone and show the new iPhone owner what apps they should buy. This happens all the time when I’m around family. “Have you seen this” or “Check this out” is a common phrase as somebody loads up a new piece of software or app. So why does this sell so many apps? Word of mouth SELLS!

The Power of Word Of Mouth
Of course, everybody knows how powerful word of mouth is when it comes to selling a product. People trust their friends WAY more than they trust an ad or even a review. But what makes Christmas so different when it comes to word of mouth? Quantity. While the year may bring a few parties, there is nothing like the holidays to bring a HUGE amount of people into one room. All these people are also taking photos! It’s a match made in heaven for my app. People take a photo with ShakeItPhoto and show off the shaking feature and the final product to their whole family in one twist of the phone. If I did my job right, they like the result and want to buy it themselves.

Christmas Year Round
So, how do YOU promote word of mouth in your app? What makes people turn the phone around to show their friends.


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  • I had my iphone this christmas because my provider had a huge promotion, so I bought shakeitphoto right away. At least it was the reason for me :p

  • I think the gifting aspect of this is really the most important thing here. I would expect that the first few days of owning a new iphone/ipod lead to a binge of app purchases.

    I know that the Spreadsong guys saw a similar extreme spike with their Freebooks app. Pretty crazy what a little bit of consumerism can do.

  • Not only you are around family and other people, but I’m sure that on Christmas Apple sees the same spike you see but in iPhone sales.

  • I think camera apps in general are a great for the “show me”-effect. I mean, who doesnt want to see how you turned out on a photo just taken? People are often curious by nature and especially if the photo has some kind of effect on it, like your split toning, Nick. 🙂

  • Our strategy was to give our customers more value than they paid for – a lot more.

    The idea is if we can make our customers happy and feeling like they really got a strong value for the money, they will recommend it to others.

  • I don’t have a visa at the moment, so I’ve never bought shake it photo. but I showed my sister at a party christmas night. everyone loved it and at least 5 other people downloaded it on the spot.

  • My app was just approved on the app store and I’m mostly going to be relying on word of mouth to get it out. The app is called “Fishbate” and it’s a bit of a provocative app. I’m hoping its shock value will cause the users to tell their friends about it.

    Any other ideas on how I can get an app like this out to the public?

  • I think people getting iTunes gift cards probably help out too. It’s a lot easier to buy that app you want but don’t need with a gift card.

  • You’re such a genius and I LOVE LOVE LOVE your way of thinking and yeah. Thanks lot for sharing. 🙂

    Coming to think of it, I’ve been doing that thing a lot with my photo apps. I’m in class or whatever and some classmate joke around and I take a photo, and they’re like “woah cool colors what app is that?” And the same goes with my panorama app, crossprocess + shakeitphoto, plastic bullet, all those. So you’re so absolutely right, and I realize now how much money I’ve helped you spend lol. 🙂


  • I agree Gifting is a notable factor, not just people getting new iphones but also itunes gift cards. I spent more in the last week on itunes then ever because I got $100+ dollars in gift cards so things I’d been apprehensive about I just went and got. Damn you Game Dev story, Damn you.

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