5 Ways to Drive More In-App Sales This Holiday

In-app sales will be huge this holiday. Learn 5 tips to make sure your app brings home the holiday magic.
Updated on June 4, 2024

In most of the world, mobile drives more than half of holiday online sales. Within mobile, in-app sales dominate, delivering as much as 3 to 5 times higher conversion rates than mobile websites. Which means, if you have a shopping app, this holiday season could be pretty awesome.

That said, competition will be fierce, and shoppers will be more distracted than ever this year. To make sure your app brings home the holiday magic, try these 5 things:

1. Fill the holiday pipeline…now

It’s no secret that one key to a stellar holiday season is to start marketing early . While you’re putting the final trimmings on your holiday campaigns, think about launching or ramping up an acquisition/installs campaign. The more installs and engaged customers you can get now, the more people you can re-engage with Black Friday offers, Cyber Monday deals, and other holiday ads.

Filling the pipeline early has some key benefits. According to Google, more than 60% of holiday shoppers have made an in-app purchase, with half of them downloading new apps. Deloitte’s 2018 Holiday Survey also showed that the sooner you can connect with shoppers, the more they are likely to spend. That means the new installs you get now could turn into an even greater boost in holiday revenue as the season progresses.

Deloitte 2018 Holiday Insights on early shoppers

2. Decorate your app for the holidays

Adding some seasonal imagery to your app can help make it stand out in the App Store or on Google Play and encourage more installs. To celebrate the season and attract users, build out a new icon and screenshots that include holiday colors or other festive design elements, or even roll out a whole new holiday feature.

According to a SplitMetrics test, adding seasonal design elements can result in as much as a 47% conversion uplift.

app with seasonal design elements

Source: SplitMetrics

As for when to roll out a new holiday theme, a YouAppi survey found that people are ready to start seeing holiday themes as early as October, but most are ready for them after Thanksgiving.

app holiday theme survey

3. Create a seamless checkout experience

According to Statista, the most important mobile holiday shopping aspect for 18-19 year olds was “ease of inputting information”. It was the #2 most important factor for the 30-59 age group.

Keep forms short, auto fill whenever possible, and consider adding a variety of one-click payment methods like Paypal and Apple Pay to make the purchase process as painless as possible.

most important smartphone holiday shopping aspects

Source: Emarsys

4. Retarget and re-engage

Most app marketers know that about one-fifth of users will abandon an app after just one use.

This is why an ongoing app retargeting and re-engagement effort is necessary, especially during the hectic holiday season. That install campaign you ran before the holiday push? Now is the time to reach them with ads to keep them engaged and encourage them to convert.

88% of holiday shoppers want ads from their favorite brands

Source: Retail Dive

Everyone will be sending out holiday offers, so to stand out, you need to deliver personalized deals and discounts that are based on each person’s individual browsing and purchase history.

Be sure to retarget new app users who haven’t converted yet, active app users who’d be eager to take advantage of holiday deals, and lapsed users who’ve been absent for while. Use dynamic creative optimization to tailor creative for each shopper, and product recommendations to give them options beyond their last viewed product. And always include deep links to the most relevant product pages.

Source: Think with Google

5. Keeps ads running through the “Set Up Season”

One of the hottest retail categories for several years running is Electronics. Every holiday, new phones, tablets, and smart TVs are gifted around the world. For app marketers, this provides an opportunity to cash in on the “set up season” that takes place in the days and weeks after these gifts are unwrapped. One study from apptweak showed up to a 5X increase in downloads on Christmas day, with health and fitness app downloads peaking around New Year’s.

Extend campaigns through January or create new ones to capitalize on the excitement and increased activity that comes with a new device.

holiday app download peak

Source: apptweak

When it comes down to it, if you can deliver an easy, frictionless customer experience in your app at Christmas time, people will happily return to you well after New Year’s.

For more data to help you get ready, download our Global Holiday Marketing Report or EMEA Festive Season Report below:


Ann Pyle

Ann revels in finding the simplest and clearest way to convey a thought. Her favorite word is 'moxie', which she tries to embody whenever possible. She's been developing content strategies and writing for the tech and B2B space for more than a decade. This, along with her SEO and advertising agency ...

Senior Manager Global Content

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