Apple dominated Christmas day smartphone activations, again

From Flurry's "Apple iPhone Devices Sweep 9 of Top 10 Devices on Christmas 2020" posted Monday: 

Although Christmas Day smartphone activations were down compared to Christmas in 2019, make no mistake that a lot of Americans still got new smartphones this Christmas. Let’s see which devices were under the tree this year. (Click to enlarge.)

In the bar chart above, we list the ten most activated smartphones on Christmas day. The gray dashed line represents the 7 day average number of daily activations leading up to Christmas and the labels denote the percent change between Christmas day and the trailing average. For example, the iPhone 11 was the most activated device on Christmas day, with activations 5% higher versus the 7 day average between December 18 to December 24. In the case of the iPhone XR, the number of activations on Christmas day was relatively equal to the trailing 7 day average, meaning it was not necessarily a popular gift for Christmas, but remains a popular smartphone for Apple customers.

Apple iPhone devices took nine of the top ten spots, with LG’s budget K30 the only other manufacturer to make the list. Last year’s iPhone 11 takes the #1 spot for the second consecutive year, followed by the 2018 iPhone XR. This year’s most premium device, the iPhone 12 Pro Max takes third place. Typically, Apple’s highest-end devices surge at launch as early adopters rush out to buy the most advanced Apple smartphone available. As the masses slowly replace their old devices, the base model—this year the iPhone 12—typically gains in popularity. But as we reported in an earlier post, the iPhone 12 Pro Max had the strongest launch week out of any Apple iPhone device in the past three years, indicating a strong and long-lasting demand for their most premium smartphone.

My take: According to Flurry, Apple took 9 out of 10 last year too. See here.

Note: Flurry Analytics, now part of Verizon Media, estimates sales indirectly—by counting activations of apps that happen to carry its tracking codes.

UPDATE: For new friend-of-the-blog Troy Thoman, this bit from Flurry:

Due to this year’s unusual circumstances and based on slower-than-normal November smartphone activations, we had forecasted that this holiday season would face decreased demand. With this in mind, let’s compare Christmas day this year to last year.



  1. bas flik said:
    yesterday we received first shipments of the 12 pro. looks like deliveries are taking off. demand still strong for pro models. mini though is a miss. biggest carrier in the netherlands will start 2021 with big price cut for the 12mini. they definitely overbought.

    December 30, 2020
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      That could be due to the shortened availability period caused by the pandemic. In aggregate the iPhone 12xx was available about 30% fewer days than the iPhone 11xx was last year. The best selling iPhone 12 (Pro Max) was available for about 40% less days than last year, and remains in extended back order.

      That would explain why the iPhone 11 performed so well.

      We’re going to see a large increase in iPhone 12(xx) sales in the March quarter.

      December 30, 2020
  2. Bart Yee said:
    IMO, it’s not clear from Flurry whether iOS or Android is most responsible for the 23% activations drop YOY. But considering the top 9 spots for most activations are all Apple models suggest Apple’s user demographic was perhaps better insulated from pandemic economic effects than Android was. Because Apple introduces new iPhones and discounts older models in the holiday quarter, they will get much more traction and mindshare at that critical time than most major Android introductions in the spring or summer. Note that very few Android smartphone intros want to go up against Apple from Sept-Dec. because Apple captures so much media and consumer attention, even if Apple doesn’t directly compete in the lower price tiers. Note also that none of the major Android makers (Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, Google, etc) showed up in this survey, but we also do not know if this is US centric, regional, or worldwide.

    When Flurry comes out with full December analytics, I’d Love to see a more detailed breakdown on Apple iOS vs Android activations and how they compared to last year.

    December 30, 2020

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