Apple Device Activations Surge Ahead of Competition During Holidays

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One measure of the holiday sales of consumer electronics is how many of the products sold are activated by owners. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) won that race hands down.

The results are good news for Apple, which must post successful iPhone 7 numbers to prove that the flagship device drove a strong holiday quarter. However, the new data does not include sales outside the United States, and so it only tells a partial and inadequate story.

According to research firm Flurry, Apple handily trounced its primary rival, Samsung. Rival Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) did very poorly, a sign that the sale of electrics devices by the e-commerce company is not a success, yet. The study covered the period from December 19 to December 25.

Flurry experts wrote:

This year, 44% of new phone and tablet activations were Apple devices with Samsung seeing 21%. While Samsung is slowly growing in popularity throughout the holiday season, up 1% from last year, Apple devices continue to be the gift to give. Holding the third and fourth positions for activations are Huawei and LG; which is remarkable, as both manufacturers do not have an individual device within the top 35 devices activated. Their high rank is likely due to the fact that they have wide variety of devices and affordable options (hundreds of phablet and medium phones) for consumers to choose from. Perhaps not so surprisingly, missing from this chart is the Google Pixel. With only two devices, the Pixel and Pixel XL, and mixed market reception, Google struggled to drum up excitement this holiday season.

The consensus of iPhone sales during the holiday quarter is 77 million to 78 million units. Of course, most of these are outside the United States. Apple’s management has made it clear that it has to have big wins in China for the company to be successful. In the most recently reported quarter, Apple’s “Americas” sales were $29.2 billion, out of a global total of $46.9 billion. “Greater China” sales were $8.8 billion, but they fell 30% from the same quarter the year before, compared to a drop of 7% in Americas sales. Apple may have had a good holiday in its home market. It needs to have had one overseas, particularly in China, to have hit ambitious forecasts for its worldwide operations.