Christmas Day in the United States is the single greatest day of the year for new device activations. For Apple, in a maturing U.S. smartphone market in which Samsung continues to take share, Christmas has also become a battleground.
The importance of Christmas 2019 to Apple can be traced back to Christmas 2018. Entering the 2018 holiday season, Apple was transitioning to the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. To grow revenue, Apple would need to both increase average selling prices and total market share – a tough feat. While the XS and XS Max pushed the upper limits of price points, the XR was sent down-market as the fighting brand to disrupt Samsung growth. The combination has been potent. Apple delivered record fiscal 2019 revenue while also stabilizing U.S. market share in the face of Samsung’s multi-year advancing growth.
For this report, Flurry studies US Christmas Day 2019 device adoption. Flurry Analytics, part of Verizon Media, is used by over 1 million mobile apps, providing aggregated insights across more than 2 billion active mobile devices per month. Let’s get to some results.
Apple More Than Doubles Device Adoption on Christmas Day
For both Apple and Samsung, device activations increased significantly on Christmas Day. Compared to the average daily device activation rate between December 1 - 20, Apple’s Christmas Day activations increased by 2.47X. Samsung saw an increase of 1.95X.
Apple Increases Its Market Share on Christmas
Changes in device adoption rates between Apple and Samsung also translated into a shift in market share. Again comparing a baseline period of December 1 - 20 versus December 25th, we show show the market share shift below.
From the first part of December to Christmas Day, Apple increased its market share from 40% to 41.7%. It’s worth considering that they did so on an already very high volume of device activations. While a few percentage points may not seem like much, it’s actually a significant shift at this scale. Meanwhile, Samsung saw a drop from 26.4% to 21.7% during Christmas. Now let’s move to uptake by device model.
iPhone Dominates Top 10 Device Model Activations
The next chart shows the top 10 device models activated on Christmas Day. With 9 of them coming from Apple, it’s nearly an Apple sweep. The only Samsung device to break into the top 10 is the budget-oriented Galaxy A10e taking the ninth spot. For Apple over this holiday season, the iPhone 11 and XR continue to jockey for the top spot. For Christmas, the iPhone 11 finally took the number 1 spot with just over 6% of the market. The XR, still selling well, took about 5.5% share on Christmas. The next four devices are older Apple models: the iPhone 7, 8, 6S and 8 Plus, respectively. Apple’s most advanced device, the iPhone 11 Pro Max captured 2.7% and ranked as the 7th best adopted device on Christmas Day.
Development in The New Year
As device manufacturers continue to drive smartphone innovation, app developers will continue to have a healthy foundation on which to expand their businesses. Samsung is expected to respond to Apple in January with Lunar New Year, and roll-outs of 5G networks will create new opportunities for innovation. Flurry wishes all our developers and friends a Happy Holidays. We look forward to working with you in 2020.
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