Apple Wins 2017 Smartphone Holiday Season

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2017 was another marquee year for smartphone sales and innovation with the introduction and evolution of manufacturers’ flagship devices, such as Apple’s iPhone X, Google’s Pixel 2, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8. With more consumer options than ever before, Flurry took a look at the most gifted smartphones and tablets around the globe this holiday season, examining activations throughout the week leading up to Christmas day and the end of Chanukah. Flurry Analytics, part of Oath, is used by over 1M mobile apps and has insight into 2.1 billion devices worldwide.

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Apple Holds Holiday Share; Google Nowhere In Sight

Similar to last year, 44% of new phone and tablet activations were Apple devices. While Samsung dominates global market share, they fell short as the gift of choice during the holiday season, with only 26% of activated devices in the lead up to Christmas. Samsung’s activation rate is up 5% from the 2016 holiday season, which can likely be attributed to the 2017 introduction of the Galaxy S8 after the late 2016 recall of their malfunctioning Note devices.

The remaining six manufacturers build affordable Android alternatives to Samsung devices. This is the first year that Vivo has had significant adoption, which can be attributed to their growth in China and India. Google is once again missing from this chart, despite the fanfare around the launch of the Pixel 2.  It is safe to say that due to limited phone models (4) and lack of consumer mindshare, the Pixel is failing to pique users’ interest.

Apple fanatics were given many gifts this year with the launch of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the commemorative iPhone X. In order to understand their impact on device adoption and holiday sales, Flurry broke down the top 10 Apple smartphone device activations for the week leading up to Christmas.

Apple Wins 2017 Smartphone Holiday Season

Despite strong launches of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X — which made up close to a third of all new activations this holiday season — Apple is still seeing significant sales from their older model smartphones. This is largely attributed to the affordability of the older models and availability in markets outside of the US. iPhone 7 and 6 take the top two spots with the X coming in a close third.  The prominence of the iPhone 6 is particularly interesting, as Apple only relaunched that model to resellers in select international markets in the spring of 2017. It’s apparent that the consumer concern for cost is still significant, as the iPhone 6 is often marketed as the most affordable option in the regions where it is available.

Phablets are the Dominant Global Device

Phablet devices (5in-6.9in) have successfully overtaken medium phone (3.5in-4.9in) market share in 2017 with 53% of all holiday activations. Phablets have proven to be consumers’ device size of choice, often eliminating the need for both a tablet and medium or small phone. Full size tablet device activations have stabilized, with Phablets eating away significantly at Small Tablets and Medium Phones.

Apple Wins 2017 Smartphone Holiday Season

Paired with your Smartphone, Apps are the Best gift to Give!

Consumers armed with their new devices are the best audience for developers to drive adoption of their applications. Flurry wishes all our developers and friends a Happy New Year! We look forward to working with you in 2018. Stay tuned for our 2017 State of Mobile in the coming weeks.

By: Chris Klotzbach, Director at Flurry and Lali Kesiraju, Marketing and Analytics Manager at Flurry

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