In Data analysis

If movies, adverts, carols, and cards are anything to go by, Christmas Day is an idyllic oasis of family time in an otherwise hectic schedule. People talk about the wholesome hours spent playing board games by the fire with phones, laptops, and tablets locked away… but is that actually the case? We decided to interrogate the data and find out how people really behave during the most wonderful time of the year.


The method

In order to whittle our millions and millions of monthly active users down to a comparable subset, we put some filters in place. Our final sample size consisted of games with over 15,000 players and 1,000 spenders that used US dollars ($) as their preferred currency. Next, we compared data from Christmas Day 2017 with the same metrics taken as averages of the preceding weekend (Friday 14th-Sunday 16th).

Outliers discounted and Scrooges ejected, we busied ourselves in Santa’s workshop and discovered some pretty intriguing festive facts.



We were interested, first and foremost, in how many people were playing games on Christmas Day and – crucially – how much.

  • The average number of sessions per player was lower on Christmas Day, falling by 4.9%.
  • The average session was shorter by an even greater margin on Christmas Day, coming in at 6.3% under.

So far, so festive! The data here shows us that players may well be logging on at Christmas, but they’re doing so less frequently and for a shorter period of time when they do. Perhaps family time isn’t so torturous after all.



This where the results get really fascinating.

  • The average number of spends per player is markedly higher on Christmas Day, up by 15.9%.
  • Total revenues, however, were 2.6% lower on Christmas Day

Players are obviously in the mood to treat themselves, with more of them spending at Christmas Day than the weekend before. That said, panicked gift-buying at the all-night garage on Christmas Eve clearly took a toll on our players’ budgets. There might have been more of them spending, but they were making smaller purchases. Bah, Humbug!


In gaming households, Christmas Day has always been a day of feverish excitement: kids fidgeting their way through breakfast, desperate to get their hands on the consoles and discs wrapped beneath the tree. We wanted to know if that fervor extended to mobile.

  • Installs showed the largest numerical disparity of all, with players making a whopping 33% more installs on Christmas Day!

In perhaps our most heartening result, the Christmas spirit was really on show here. With Santa gifting smartphones and tablets to players all over the world, they were obviously excited to play new games and installed many accordingly. This, however, led to neither more sessions nor longer ones.


Santa’s Summary

We’ll be honest, we weren’t expecting the sacred Christmas ideal to hold up under scrutiny. How wrong we were! Our players definitely love games but they also love Christmas. It wasn’t until the January blues took hold, after the glow of New Year optimism had subsided, that revenues and sessions really started to ramp up again. That’s surely behavior good enough to avoid a lump of coal on Christmas morning 2018. Fingers crossed…

If you have any questions, about the contents of this piece or anything else, contact us at [email protected] and we’ll connect you to the relevant person.




If you have any questions, about the contents of this piece or anything else, contact us at [email protected] and we’ll connect you to the relevant person.



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