Christmas Day is increasingly the day that a flood of new phones and tablets come online; it regularly sets and breaks records for new device activations. This year was no exception, according to mobile analytics firm Flurry’s annual study, which found that 17.4 million devices were activated on December 25 this year, a 332 percent increase over activations covering December 1 – 20, and a 156 percent increase on the numbers from a year ago.
Flurry’s data covers a catalog of 260,000 apps that use its mobile analytics platform, across Android, iOS and Amazon devices, and the firm claims it can account for roughly 90 percent of total new device activations given its reach. Not surprisingly, app downloads likewise spiked alongside the record activations, with 328 million app downloads on Christmas Day, a record high for a single day since Flurry started measuring app downloads. Downloads per hour peaked early at around 11 AM on the 25th, and remained high throughout the day until around 8:30 or 9 PM. While Christmas represents a single-day peak, Flurry projects that app downloads will remain high throughout the next week and into New Year’s Day, ending the holiday period with over 1.5 billion downloads, and possibly reaching as high as 2 billion total.
Lat year, app downloads were at 242 million for Christmas Day, so this year’s total represents a 36 percent increase over last year’s number. Total holiday downloads were at 1.2 billion in 2011, so if they experience a similar spike, Flurry’s predictions make sense, since 36 percent growth would put the total at just over 1.6 billion downloads for the holiday period.
Tablets won the day over smartphones, at least compared to their average performance. Fifty-one percent of new devices activated on Christmas were tablets, vs. just 20 percent during the baseline period covering December 1 -2. That suggests that tablets are considered by most to be a more suitable gift than smartphones, perhaps owing to their availability without contracts. It could also reflect that while people are generally willing to spend on a smartphone for themselves, a tablet is seen as more of a luxury item, and therefore not something most folks are likely to have bought themselves. Flurry says the top winners among tablets for the holiday look to be the iPad, iPad mini and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 9-inch, specifically.