Not only did Apple win the battle for the hearts and minds of consumers the world over but more impressive was its margin of victory: not even close.
According to the researchers at Flurry (a Yahoo (YHOO) company) Apple mobile products garnered more than half of all new device activations worldwide from December 19 through Christmas Day. The exact figure was 51.3% for Apple devices. Samsung (SSNLF) came in at a distant 17.7%, Microsoft (MSFT) (Nokia) scored a dismal 5.8%. Sony (SNE) and LG barely kept up with 1.6% and 1.3% respectively. Xiaomi, Huawei, and HTC all registered less than one percent shares on Christmas Day which is not an important gift-giving holiday in many Asian markets.
Apple sold 10 million new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones in the first weekend of release as well as a record 39.3 million devices in the quarter ended September 30, Apple shares were down 0.64% to $113.18 in early morning trading in New York.
To put that margin of victory in perspective researchers found that for every Samsung device activated Apple activated nearly three. For every Microsoft Lumia device activated, Apple activated close to nine. The recent release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus surely helped.
With all the new mobile devices being activated the number of apps downloaded and installed this holiday season also skyrocketed. This year, and on Christmas Day in the US, surveys tracked 2.5 times the number of mobile app installs as compared to an average day in the first three weeks of December. Games and messaging apps registered the largest increase of downloads. After tracking more than 600,000 mobile apps the analytics firm's experts called the increase "remarkable considering the maturity of the US market and the difficulty of getting recognized in crowded app stores."
Flurry also measured exactly what kinds of devices were actually being purchased this year and found that the new device market is "being driven less by smart device adoption and more by consumers finding the form factor that works for them."
Researchers found that Christmas 2014 saw a huge jump in the number of "phablets" activated. Phablets had been gaining share even before Apple's release of the iPhone 6 Plus but during this holiday shopping season even more consumers were switching to larger phone devices.
In the week leading up to Christmas, 13% of all new device activations were phablets compared to just 4% in 2013. The iPhone 6 Plus was one of the top five devices activated and it's slightly smaller brother, the iPhone 6, was number one. Medium-sized phones popularity remained steady at nearly two-thirds of all activations while small handsets continue to decline and now accounted for less than two percent of the market.
The phablet's popularity apparently came at the expense of tablets both full-sized tablets and to a somewhat lesser extent small tablets. The survey found that while last year, tablets accounted for almost 30% of the mobile landscape this year that number dropped to only 22%.
Flurry concludes that based on these figures "we should expect strong performance from iOS devices and a continued shift to the once-derided phablet form factor." in 2015. "This was the year that time spent on mobile finally eclipsed TV, and the data shows that we are spending this time in more apps than ever.. and we don't see any signs of the momentum stopping."
-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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