Apple Devices Dominate at Christmas

A lot of Apple products lit up the holidays this year.

Mobile devices made by Apple accounted for 51% of the devices being activated around the world on Dec. 25, according to Yahoo-owned research firm Flurry. The iPhone 6 was the No. 1 device.

Samsung came in second with 18%, followed by Microsoft’s Nokia unit at 5.8%. Sony and LG trailed at 1.6% and 1.4%, respectively.

In other words, for every Samsung device that was activated, Apple activated 2.9 devices.

Apple is expected to sell 71.5 million iPhones during the fourth quarter, according to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, 40% more than the 51 million iPhones sold in the last quarter of 2013. Apple sold more than 10 million iPhones during the first three days of the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September, a record for the company.

In comparison, Samsung sold 12 million Galaxy S5 smartphones in its first three months of release, off 4 million from when the S4 was launched, analysts say. Overall, Samsung sold 40% fewer S5 units than it expected, with China, in particular, accounting for much of the decline as rivals there take a larger percentage of the business.

Christmas Day typically marks the time when more new mobile devices are activated than any other time on the calendar.

The same is true for apps, with more software purchased for devices on the day, Flurry said, which makes sense, given that consumers are looking for software to put on their new hardware.

This year was no different.

Flurry, which tracks more than 600,000 apps, found that app installs increased 2.5 times the number on an average day in the first three weeks of December.

The firm also found that larger screens are becoming more popular.

Apple recently released the iPhone 6 Plus, with a 5.5-inch screen, while Samsung has the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4 in the phablet category — devices with larger screens that fall in between a smartphone and a tablet.

In the week leading up to Christmas, 13% of new device activations were phablets, compared to just 4% in 2013.

Overall, the findings are notable given that consumers are spending more time accessing entertainment on mobile devices.

In fact, 2014 marked the first time that more time was spent watching a smartphone or tablet than a television.

The time consumers spend on mobile devices has grown to 2 hours and 57 minutes — up 9.3% — topping the time spent watching TV, which has remained flat at 2 hours and 48 minutes daily, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Christmas numbers are also notable for Apple, given that its iOS operating system trails Google’s Android around the globe. Android devices made up 84% of the smartphone sales in the third quarter, according to IDC, versus nearly 18% for iOS. For tablets, Android powered 68% of tablets, versus iOS at 28%.

The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were the first smartphones Apple released worldwide.

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