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Reading the Numbers: The iTunes Christmas Report

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 12/29/2008

Christmas is a major time for iTunes and the iPhone, but the morning numbers will reveal where the money is.

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    Opening the Package

    Christmas day is the first day you can look at the numbers from the holiday season and see what was successful. Though gift cards make up a large amount of the market, especially in the digital download sector relied on by iTunes and the App Store, but beyond that you can still look at the iTunes sales positions and see exactly what went this holiday season and whether or not it helped iPhone in its continued smart phone dominance. Since both the iPhone and iPod Touch are the handhelds that actually rely on the App Store, its sales make much more of a difference overall for the iPhone in general.

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    Top Paid

    iFart Mobile maintained its dominance in the paid applications section, a spot which it held for several days. This success seems to be a mixture of its exploitation of the iPhone as a primary entertainment device and a cheap price which makes iPhone shoppers attracted. Though there are still a large number of consumers who are not wiling to pay for these types of applications, those that do will spontaneously purchase these entertainment applications as long as they are inexpensive. This will likely not decrease in the coming weeks as gift cards from the holiday season are used.

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    Major Games

    Games from major developers such as Sim City, Cash Bandicoot Nitro, and Tetris also hit the top paid applications list, which shows that the holiday season is when the more substantial and expensive applications are purchased. The holiday season is the hallmark quarter for videogames in general and this is now marking the iPhone as a legitimate platform for major developers to sell games. The sales of these applications are only going to increase in the next two weeks as gift cards are redeemed. This will likely show that the more expensive game applications are purchased more often during a gift card surge than any other period. The reason for this is that even people who find the purchasing of digital downloads unreasonable will splurge when receiving gift cards. They are more positioned to use iTunes gift cards on applications than media because media can be commonly downloaded for free. Applications will take the bulk of gift card sales for iPhone and iPod Touch users, and the majority of this will likely go to major games.

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    Free Apps

    Many of the top free games were ones that had been fairly consistent for the prior weeks before Christmas, with Crazy Penguin Catapult Lite keeping its top spot even after Christmas. The reduction in price of Topple from ninety nine cents to free brought it to the number two spot on the free list, which likely increased the overall sales of Ngmoco's other software.

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    Video

    The music and film numbers tend to reflect the general trends in music and DVD sales in general, except that they are slightly geared more at a younger generation that is hip to digital viewing. Family Guy tops the TV sales and the Dark Knight is first on the movie list, which is directly in line with DVD sales currently.