Every year, Christmas tends to be the biggest day for device activations and app installs, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) tends to be the biggest winner. According to mobile analytics firm Flurry, this year was no different.
Apple stock investors should be happy, as the company continues to dominate device activations this holiday season. Flurry also says that consumers are embracing phablets—smartphones with a larger screen size that makes them half-smartphone and half-tablet. (Source: “Report: Apple Devices, Phablets Dominate Holiday Sales,” Tech Crunch, December 28, 2015.)
Phablets Gaining in Popularity
The popularity of phablets among consumers has been increasing for the past several years. During the week leading up to Christmas back in 2013, only four percent of new device activations were phablets. Fast-forward to 2015 and the share of phablets among new devices has surged to a whopping 27%.
Flurry noted that in 2013 and 2014, phablets were stealing market share from tablets. This year, however, consumers seem to be choosing phablets, not as a substitute for a tablet, but as a substitute for a smaller-sized smartphone. Flurry said that phones with a screen size of less than 3.5 inches are almost extinct.
AAPL Stock: Apple Devices Still the Most Popular
Apple is still the biggest winner among all device manufacturers this holiday season, with a 49.1% market share. The tech giant unveiled its first phablet back in September of 2014. Since then, the “iPhone 6 Plus” and the subsequent “iPhone 6S Plus” have become increasingly popular. Apple’s phablets accounted for 12% of all Apple’s devices activated during this year’s Christmas week.
The “iPad Pro,” another one of Apple’s newly introduced devices, wasn’t so lucky this holiday season. The product is grouped with others that have a screen size greater than 8.5 inches into Flurry’s “Full-Size Tablets” category. These larger tablets represented less than one percent of device activations.
Note that phablets also accounted for more than half of all “Android” devices for the first time this year. In particular, Samsung’s products have been doing quite well. Thanks to its newly introduced “Grand Prime,” “Core Prime,” and “S6,” Samsung increased its market share from 17.7% in 2014 to 19.8% in 2015.
Investors of Apple stock and Samsung stock should be glad to see that other manufacturers’ market shares are at a much smaller scale. Third place is claimed by Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Nokia, whose market share dropped from 5.8% last year to an even two percent this year. LG took the fourth place with a 1.7% market share. Note that Sony fell out of the top five altogether.
One of the surprises is Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc., which claimed the fifth spot with 1.5% of all new activations during Christmas week. This is the first time for Xiaomi to place in the top five. Flurry notes that Xiaomi’s achievement is particularly striking, as Christmas is not the biggest gift-giving day in China.
Since consumers need to install applications after activating their devices, it’s no surprise that app downloads skyrocketed during Christmas. According to Flurry, app installs on this year’s Christmas Day was 120% more compared to an average day in December.