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Analyzing the MacSanta Promotion

Back in December 2007, Rogue Amoeba organized MacSanta, a promotion for companies selling Mac-related downloadable products (see “Mac Developers Launch Two Software Discount Promotions,” 2007-12-01). The deal was simple. To be a part of MacSanta, you had to donate at least $50 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and offer a 20-percent-off discount for your featured day and a 10-percent-off discount for most of the month of December. Each participating company was encouraged to alert their customers to MacSanta as a way of increasing sales for everyone.

After MacSanta was over, participating companies were asked to share the number of units sold in an anonymous survey; of the 124 participants, 62 responded. Dollar sales weren’t reported, although I’d guess that most products promoted via MacSanta range from $10 to $50 in price, with a few closer to $100. Here are a few other interesting statistics from the anonymous results:

  • The total number of sales reported was 5,072, with 3,519 20-percent-off sales and 1,553 10-percent-off sales.
  • The average number of sales per participant was 83, with 58 of those sales being at 20 percent off and 25 at 10 percent off.
  • A few companies sold way more than the average, perhaps due to being better known or having a larger number of less-expensive products. If we remove the top 11 respondents, each of the remaining companies sold fewer than 100 units. Recalculating the average number of sales for these companies, the average sales come out at 41, with 30 at 20 percent off and 11 at 10 percent off.
  • Some concern was raised that appearing later in the month was less advantageous, because fewer people would see the 10-percent-off discount offer (which appeared only after each participant’s 20-percent-off featured day). However, 10-percent-off sales accounted for an average of only 28 percent of the overall sales, and only 3 companies had more than half of their sales at 10 percent off.
  • Paul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba noted that MacSanta raised over $10,000 for the EFF (at least some companies, including us, donated more than the minimum $50).

The question is, if you’re a Mac developer, is MacSanta worthwhile? Any revenue projections based on these averages would be piling guesswork on supposition, although you can do the simple math with your product prices to come up with a conservative income estimate. But it’s safe to say that the answer is yes (unless creating a graphic and offering discounts in your shopping cart is just too hard). For a $50 tax-deductible donation to the EFF, you get free publicity and an almost-guaranteed profit. What’s not to like?

More to the point, participating in MacSanta is one of those rising tides that lifts all boats. The more companies that alert their customers to the existence of MacSanta, the better the holiday season will be for both Mac developers and Mac users. Kudos to Rogue Amoeba for making MacSanta a reality for the Mac community.

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