Christmas Day smartphone activations plummet 23%, but the iPhone dominates the top 10

Christmas Day in the US is the day that sees the largest number of new smartphone activations. But 2020 saw activations take a nosedive.

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A lot of smartphones are sold over the holiday period, and it's no surprise that Christmas Day is the day that sees the biggest number of new smartphone activations. But, this year, Flurry Analytics saw new smartphone activations fall by 23% compared to Christmas Day 2019.

By analyzing data collected by apps that use the company's analytics services, it is able to see keep an eye on new activations. And the company saw new activations slump over Thanksgiving, and this carried on into Christmas Day.

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What is unclear at this stage is whether the slump is down to weaker demand for smartphones, or whether gift-giving was spread over the days preceding and following Christmas Day. Complete data for December from Flurry Analytics is expected soon, but the company believes that this decline is "likely due to the financial hardships caused by COVID-19."

The data can also tell us what the most gifted smartphones were on Christmas Day.

Predictably, the top 10 is dominated by the iPhone, taking spots 1 through 9.

  • iPhone 11: +5% device activations versus a 7-day average leading up to Christmas
  • iPhone XR: 0%
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: +14%
  • iPhone 12: +23%
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: -6%
  • iPhone SE: +34%
  • iPhone 12 Pro: +8%
  • iPhone 8 Plus: -9%
  • iPhone 8: -7%

Can you guess what smartphone was at number 10? Interestingly, it was the one that saw the biggest Christmas boost.

  • LG K30: +181%
New smartphone activations, 25 December 2020

New smartphone activations, 25 December 2020

"Apple's budget device, the iPhone SE, as well as LG's K30 saw the largest Christmas Day surge compared to the prior 7-day average, with 34% and 181% increases, respectively," writes Flurry Analytics. "In addition, 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. Notably absent from this year's list is the flagship iPhone 12 mini, which brings the features of the iPhone 12, in a smaller device. With a discount of only $100 compared to the iPhone 12, however, the mini version has yet to catch consumers' attention."

The LG K30 retails for around $200.

It will be interesting to see the complete data for December 2020 and to see what effect COVID-19 has on smartphone sales in 2021.