Quite a few stories have been doing the rounds lately of how Apple dominated mobile device activations, app purchases, and starts this Christmas, most of them traceable to a report from analytics firm Flurry, entitled “Apple and Apps Dominated Christmas 2014.” And while I don’t necessarily doubt its stats, I do wonder about its conclusions.
For one thing, Flurry’s review period that provided the basis for the key claim, that 51.3 percent of device activations worldwide for the Christmas period were Apple machines, was December 19th-25th. Now, of course that is going to cover Christmas Day itself, but is that really representative of gift-receiving and present-opening habits? What about all the families struggling to sort through … well, family stuff over Boxing Day and the aftermath of Christmas? And how representative of Christmas gift-giving is the period around December 19th-20th? I’d be happier with a slightly different data set with different dates.
In particular, I suspect a lot of this is about the release cycle for the iPhone 6. For Western Europe, this came to market end September. For most of Asia, and crucially, China and India, it debuted mid-October. So I expect a lot of Apple device activation was about continuing takeup of the iPhone 6. It’ll be interesting to compare with next year’s Christmas figures to see if the pattern repeats.
More telling, though, is that surprising spike for Nokia. According to Flurry, “Microsoft (Nokia) rounded out the top three with 5.8 percent share for mostly Lumia devices.” Did Microsoft really grab such a big chunk of market share, so fast?
And we’re still left with this surprising picture that Flurry reports over 50 percent of newly switched-on devices at Christmas going to Apple while Gartner gives over 83 percent of global mobile OS market share to Android. Not least when Kantar figures for the fourth quarter of 2013 show Android as well ahead, if not streets ahead, of iOS in almost every major global market – except the U.S. Time to review those figures again, maybe?