Apple Wins Christmas Again: 9 out of 10 Smartphones Activated on Christmas Day Were iPhones

iPhone 12 Colors Credit: Apple
Text Size
- +

Toggle Dark Mode

The iPhone has once again completely dominated the holiday charts this year, at least in the United States., the first nine of the top ten smartphones activated on Christmas Day were various iPhone models.

The report, which comes from Flurry Analytics, collected data on all the new smartphones activated in the U.S. on Christmas Day, which it notes is “the single greatest day for new smartphone activations.”

With Flurry’s code baked into over one million mobile applications, it claims to be able to glean insights from over two billion mobile devices every month.

Perhaps a bit surprisingly, the iPhone 11 remained the most popular on the list, taking first place by a pretty wide margin.

It was followed by the iPhone XR and then, interestingly, the iPhone 12 Pro Max — the highest-ranking premium iPhone on the list.

The iPhone 12 actually came in at fourth place, but it’s important to keep in mind that Apple is still selling both the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XR as new models at lower prices, making them very appealing as stocking stuffers. Looking at just 5G smartphone sales, however, the iPhone 12 continues to lead the pack.

Here’s the full rundown of the top ten:

  1. iPhone 11
  2. iPhone XR
  3. iPhone 12 Pro Max
  4. iPhone 12
  5. iPhone 11 Pro Max
  6. iPhone SE
  7. iPhone 12 Pro
  8. iPhone 8 Plus
  9. iPhone 8
  10. LG K30

Conspicuously missing? The iPhone 12 mini, which for various reasons hasn’t been as popular as many expected; in the case of holiday activations, price-sensitive consumers had a plethora of even more affordable iPhone options to choose from this year, and the popularity of both the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR suggest that price was an important consideration.

One thing is certain this year—Holiday 2020 is unlike any other. Between economic hardships caused by COVID-19 and limitations on family gatherings, smartphone gifts are down considerably. Additionally, for those consumers who did gift a new smartphone, many opted for past years’ models likely to save money.

Flurry Analytics

In fact, as the report notes, there were 23 percent fewer smartphone activations this year compared to last, and even though the iPhone SE was in sixth place, it actually saw the biggest surge in activations compared to other iPhone models, with a 34 percent increase over the prior seven-day average. LG’s K30 saw an even bigger boost, going up to 181 percent from the week before.

By contrast, the iPhone XR didn’t exceed the trailing average, suggesting that its popularity as a Christmas gift wasn’t significantly different from the everyday demand for the older iPhone model.

History Repeats Itself

It’s actually the second year in a row that Apple has won Christmas. Last year, iPhones made up 43 percent of all holiday device activations from Christmas Day through New Year’s Eve — more than double the market share that any other single smartphone manufacturer could claim, with Samsung coming in a distant second at only 23.5 percent.

Last year, however, iPhones also took the top nine spots, with the tenth place being filled by Xiaomi’s Mi4 LTE. What’s notable about the 2019 holiday activations, though, is that the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR also took the two top spots last year as well, with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 coming in third and fourth, respectively, before the next 2019 model — the iPhone 11 Pro Max — showed up in fifth place.

In fact, during the 2019 holiday season, the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR collectively accounted for 11.43 percent of all smartphone activations, and while Flurry didn’t share overall percentages this year, it appears that the margin for the iPhone 11 may have been even wider than it was last year.

For an interesting comparison here are the top ten smartphone models from 2020 versus 2019:

1iPhone 11iPhone 11
2iPhone XRiPhone XR
3iPhone 12 Pro MaxiPhone 7
4iPhone 12iPhone 8
5iPhone 11 Pro MaxiPhone 11 Pro Max
6iPhone SEiPhone 8 Plus
7iPhone 12 ProiPhone 6 Plus
8iPhone 8 PlusiPhone 7 Plus
9iPhone 8iPhone X
10LG K30Xiaomi Mi 4 LTE

Notably, the iPhone 11 Pro Max also came in at the same fifth place as last year; however in 2019 it was the only premium iPhone model on the list, while this time around the iPhone 12 Pro Max took a strong third. This isn’t all that surprising as Flurry Analytics previously reported that it had the strongest launch week of any iPhone in the past three years. This suggests that more users opted to wait for the larger model thanks to its noticeably more powerful camera features.

One thing that’s clear, however, is that while the jury is still out on the smaller iPhone 12 mini, Apple’s strategy of offering a lower-cost 6.1-inch iPhone tier has continued to pay off in spades, and while the iPhone 12 is already the best-selling 5G smartphone on the planet, it likely won’t be long before it unseats its older siblings to rise to first place overall.

Social Sharing