girl with iphone

The myriad challenges presented by COVID-19 led to a 23% reduction in the number of smartphones activated on Christmas day this year compared to 2019, according to data about Christmas smartphone activations from Flurry Analytics. Plenty of activations did occur, of course, and the top ten were dominated by Apple.

Commentary in a Flurry Analytics blog post suggested two possible reasons for the reduction. One is obvious: A higher number of people are experiencing financial hardships and opted to not buy a phone this year. The other is that people forced to stay home spread gift-giving over more days, thereby reducing gifts and activations on December 25. The firm said that full December results will determine if this occurred.

Nine of the ten top activation on Christmas were Apple devices. Flurry charted activations against a seven day average leading up to the day. The leader for activations was the iPhone 11, which had a 5% higher activation versus the week of December 18 to 24. It was followed by the iPhone XR (which also saw a 5% rise), the iPhone 12 Pro Max (14% higher), the iPhone 12 (23% higher), the iPhone 11 Pro Max (6% lower), the iPhone SE (34% higher), the iPhone 12 Pro (8% higher), the iPhone 8 Plus (9% lower) and the iPhone 8 (7% lower). The lone non-iPhone was the LG K30, which activated at a 181% higher rate on Christmas than the week before.

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christmas smartphone activations
Source: Fluury Analytics

Commentary alluded to the absence of the iPhone 12 mini. The post about Christmas smartphone activations – which was written by Flurry’s Lisa Moshfegh – said that the iPhone 11 had the highest number of activations for the second consecutive year. The iPhone 12 Pro Max had the strongest launch week of any iPhone device during the past three years.

Flurry Analytics is used in more than 1 million mobile apps and gathers insights from 2 billion devices per month, according to the company. The post says that frugality may have been an issue even for those who did activate phones: “The success of past years’ models—notably the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR—may demonstrate that American consumers were more price-sensitive this holiday season.”

Two years ago, the Apple App Store raked in $300 million on New Year’s Day and $890 million between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

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