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Mobile app spending topped $500M over Christmas weekend

People worldwide were on their mobile devices over Christmas weekend, loading up on video games and streaming services.


The popular mobile video game Pokemon Go was among one of the top five apps downloaded over the Christmas holiday weekend for 2016.

Niantic Labs

Was your nose buried in a mobile device Christmas weekend? If so, you weren't alone.

Phone and tablet owners spent half a billion dollars on mobile apps over the holiday, according to mobile research firm Sensor Tower. Spending on mobile apps for iOS and Android devices were up 52 percent from $330 million to $500 million worldwide from December 24 to December 26 compared to the same period last year.

Mobile games led the spending frenzy with more than 87 percent of gross revenue from apps worldwide on the Apple App Store and Google Play store coming from mobile games, totaling approximately $439.5 million.

It makes sense that app and game developers would see a big boost in revenue and downloads during the holidays, since mobile devices are a popular gift. What's more, with many people at home from work and school, activity on mobile devices is sure to spike.

The top five earning apps over the Christmas holiday worldwide were all games: Supercell's Clash Royale, Mixi's Monster Strike, Supercell's Clash of Clans, Niantic's Pokémon GO, and Sony's Fate/Grand Order. The top five grossing non-game apps worldwide, which generated considerably less revenue, were the calling and messaging app LINE; video streaming service Netflix; dating site Tinder; HBO NOW; and music-streaming service Pandora. The music app Spotify, which was the top grossing last year, only ranked No. 6 this year, according to Sensor Tower.

Streaming video and music apps often see increased downloads, spending and usage during the holidays, the research firm said.

"As for Tinder, we can only assume that consumers turned to the convenience of the app to avoid spending the holidays alone--or perhaps to get a head start on a New Year's resolution to find someone special in 2017," Randy Nelson, head of Mobile Insights for Tower Sensor said in a blog post.