The total number of iOS application downloads sunk in August according to one metric.
The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index tracks the daily download volume of the top 200 free U.S. iPhone apps. It’s a reliable tool to get a quick impression of iPhone-owner behavior.
According to Fiksu, downloads dropped from 4.37 million in July to 4.05 million in August.
“August was like the calm before the storm for app marketers,” said Fiksu chief executive officer Micah Adler in a press release. “Similar to the period preceding the iPhone 4S launch in 2011, we saw users once again holding off on downloading apps in the weeks before the much-anticipated iPhone 5 launch.”
Since Fiksu tracks free apps, this trend isn’t about users hoping to save a few bucks to put towards a new phone by holding off on app purchases. Maybe owners that are planning to update begin to lose interest in keeping up with the latest downloads when they’re too busy dreaming of a newer, longer handset.
Adler thinks it can attribute at least half of the slump to developer marketing decisions.
“App marketers also took the gas off their advertising spending during August,” Adler said. “[They were] awaiting the availability of iOS 6 in September and the chance to promote updated apps. The combined effect made for a slow month overall ahead of what we expect to be a busy Q4.”
The holidays (and maybe an iPad Mini) will boost those numbers right back up to where they were in January. At that time, the Fiksu index was at 6.79 million downloads or 50 percent more than today.