Apple Dominates Christmas Day Mobile Device Activations

Many more Apple devices were purchased and activated as gifts on Christmas this season compared with other brands, according to new figures from Flurry Analytics.


Apple apparently won the Christmas shopping season mobile device sales war, as it collected some three times the mobile device activations by consumers on Christmas Day as its closest competitor, Samsung.

The figures, which have Apple capturing 51.3 percent of the Christmas day activations compared with 17.7 percent for Samsung, were announced in a Dec. 29 report by research firm Flurry Analytics. The report also looks at the number of app installs that occurred on Christmas Day and found that app installs spiked on Dec. 25 by some 2.5 times the number of app installs made from Dec. 1 through Dec. 21. Flurry has been tracking new device activations and app installs on Christmas Day for the last several years.

"Since the beginning of the mobile revolution, Christmas Day has seen the highest number of new device activations and app installs each year, and 2014 was no exception," the report states. The company examined data from more than 600,000 apps that it tracks in compiling its report.

Based on the latest data, devices from third-place finisher Nokia made up 5.8 percent of the Christmas Day activations, with Sony in fourth place at 1.6 percent. LG finished fifth with 1.4 percent of the activations, according to Flurry.

"It's clear that Santa is no longer into cookies—he prefers Apples," the post explained. "Up-and-comers Xiaomi, Huawei, and HTC all had less than one percent share on Christmas Day. One reason is surely their popularity in Asian markets where December 25th is not the biggest gift-giving day of the year."

The figures show that for every Samsung device that was activated, Apple saw 2.9 device activations, giving it a dominant performance for the holiday, the report states. "For every Microsoft Lumia device activated, Apple activated 8.8 devices. While, the holidays in general and Christmas in particular are not the sole indicator of the smartphone market share and trends, it is safe to say that Apple’s newly released iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have had a blockbuster holiday season, despite a lackluster holiday season for the consumer electronics industry."

The app install numbers repeated a pattern that Flurry has seen over the last several years—that Christmas Day is by far the biggest day for new app installs each year as consumers receive new devices and begin to load them up with desired apps, the report concludes.

"With a new device, we're all likely to turn into install addicts," the report states. The almost threefold increase in app installs on Dec. 25 "is a remarkable number considering the maturity of the U.S. market and the difficulty of getting recognized in crowded app stores. Perhaps unsurprisingly, games and messaging apps saw the highest increase in app installs on Christmas Day as we sought entertainment and connection with friends and family."

The form factors of mobile devices were also described amid the activation data from Flurry. "Christmas 2014 saw a big jump in the number of phablets activated," with Apple's iPhone 6 devices leading the way, the report states. "The phablet's popularity seems to come at the expense of full-sized tablets and to a lesser extent small tablets. App developers should take into account the fact that larger screens are becoming the primary device; it's not just the secondary primetime tablet anymore."

Still, "the medium-sized phone is still favored by most consumers and saw the largest share of device activations this Christmas," the report concludes.

A Flurry spokesperson could not be reached by eWEEK for further comment on its research.