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How Chinese New Year changed how people use their mobiles

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Everything’s getting back to normal in China as the New Year festivities dwindle to a halt. The daily lives of Chinese people dramatically break from the norm for at least a solid two weeks during the holiday, and how this affects mobile usage can give developers and advertisers key insights into opportunities that only present themselves once per year. Mobile ad company AppFlood provided us with some data to give us an idea of how Chinese people use their Android smartphones differently just before and during the country’s biggest holiday and migratory movement.

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Between January 16 and February 6 – when the majority of people head home for the holiday – app activity was 51.5 percent higher than average. AppFlood measures this by the number of clicks on its advertisements.

However, AppFlood’s data shows the bulk of app downloads happen prior to January 23 – before the apex of the annual migration hits. That shows Chinese people are preparing in advance for long trips on trains and buses with games and other apps. Installs peaked on January 12, then again on January 16. Installs steadily decreased after that. The lesson, according to AppFlood, is that developers and advertisers need to pump money into marketing before users hit the road, not while they’re on it.

WeChat’s Hongbao app, which allowed users to gift random proportions of a set amount of money to a specified group of friends, was the clear winner of Chinese New Year among mobile apps. Over five million users participated in the money-gifting scheme. Other than that, productivity apps accounted for 42 percent of total daily installs, followed by arcade games with 33 percent. Mobile games accounted for the most ad clicks by far, though.

Check out AppFlood’s slideshow below:


This article by Paul Bischoff originally appeared on Tech in Asia, a Burn Media publishing partner.

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