App Downloads Soar – But Why is Germany Lagging?

The last week of 2011 saw the number of apps downloaded worldwide smash through the one-billion barrier for the first time. According to figures from analytics firm Flurry, a total of 1.2 billion iOS and Android apps were downloaded between Christmas Day and December 31. That compares to a weekly average of 750 million for the period from December 4-17.

But what may be slightly surprising is the small proportion of that figure accounted for by Germany – with 40 million, the Germans were even lagging behind Canada, with 41 million. The US led the way with a whopping 509 million, followed by China with 99 million and the UK with 81 million. With France tied alongside Germany on 40 million, is the language gap really big enough to cause such a discrepancy?

According to Flurry, 6.8 million iOS and Android devices were activated and 242 million applications were downloaded on Christmas Day alone, both one-day records. With Christmas the obvious factor in this spike, and so leaving countries which do not celebrate the holiday season as widely as elsewhere understandably lagging behind in terms of download numbers, it is still surprising to see English-speaking countries so dominant.

The majority of existing apps may well be in English, even if they are also available in other languages, but it is also a matter of how many non-English speakers use devices running apps in the first place. In another recent post, Flurry revealed that there were 10 million iOS and Android users running apps, again identical to France, with the US out in the lead on 109 million, followed by China, the UK and South Korea.

But things are inevitably changing. In a blog post, the firm said: “Looking forward to 2012, Flurry expects breaking the one-billion-download-barrier per week will become more common-place.  While iOS and Android growth continues to amaze, the market is still by all measures relatively nascent.”

So while people clutching their smartphones and tablets as they negotiate the streets is almost as common a sight in Berlin as it is in New York or London, it seems that we have some work to do to persuade the rest of the country to follow suit.

About David Knight

David is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Silicon Allee. Originally from London, he has lived in Berlin for over seven years, having previously worked for news portals including and Spiegel Online before helping to found Silicon Allee in 2011.


  1. It’s also possible that UK customers are more likely than people in Germany and France to download apps that contain Flurry’s analytics package – Flurry doesn’t cover all apps.

  2. Another factor could be that Germans, by their nature, are more skeptical about giving their data away and giving apps access to their phone’s functions. Further, many Germans don’t have a credit card (or don’t want to use the one they have) which makes paying for apps difficult (and on some non-Apple platforms impossible).

  3. Sweden and Netherlands show higher ratios than Germany. Maybe it has to do with level of proficiency in English language. More English speaking inhabitants means more downloads?

  4. I still can’t quite believe that language has that big of an effect – although Ole was right in tht Flurry doesn’t pick up every app download. I think they still get around 90 percent, though.

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