And the Device Winners of Thanksgiving 2017 Are…

Read Time: 5 min

The results are in. The 2017 Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday kickoff to the holiday shopping season produced big results for retailers. Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers dropped more than $11 billion, which is a significant increase from 2016.  Mobile shopping also hit a new high this year, with 42% of sales coming from mobile devices and Cyber Monday heralded as mobile’s first $2 billion day ever.

As expected, smartphones and tablets continued to be a big draw for holiday shoppers. Retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy offered various promotions and discounts on these devices between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to encourage consumers to purchase without breaking the bank. 

So, not surprisingly, we’ve found that the Thanksgiving weekend also drives a significant number of new device activations. This year, our analysis shows a strong performance for the big three - Apple, Samsung and Google - which all recently launched new devices. Here’s what our data found.

iPhone X Edges out the Pixel 2 and Galaxy Note 8 in a Close Battle

We analyzed both Android and Apple devices to see which devices experienced the highest lift in new activations over the Thanksgiving weekend, compared to the average activations from the previous four weekends.

The iPhone X emerged as the ultimate victor as it experienced a 47% growth of new device activations compared to the past four weekends. Runners-up were Google’s Pixel 2 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.

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It’s another sign of strong growth and momentum for Apple’s newest device, which has steadily increased adoption since it was released on November 3rd. And, while it’s interesting to see Google’s Pixel 2 showing a strong lift over the Thanksgiving weekend, it is also worth noting that the total universe of Pixel devices is still significantly smaller than the universe of iPhone and Galaxy Note devices.

Android fans should also be encouraged to see the Galaxy Note 8 in the second spot of the weekend winners. Samsung offered impressive promotions around the Note 8 and the S8, with savings of up to $400.

Apple Gets Back on Track

Last year, we reported a lackluster Thanksgiving weekend performance for Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, compared to what we saw from the 6S and 6S Plus in 2016.

The good news for Apple is that it got back on track this year, and surpassed its 2016 performance.

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With three new smartphones launched this year (iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus), it’s fascinating to observe the dynamics of which devices and price points are most attractive. Apple’s big bet on the iPhone X - it’s most expensive model to date - seems to be paying off, as reflected by the 47% lift in new activations over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Let’s Not Forget the iPads

The performance of the iPad was on track with what we saw last year, with the iPad Pro (9.7 inch) seeing a 24% lift over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016 versus the iPad (5th gen) seeing a 30% lift this year.

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The Takeaway for Marketers

The real chaos of the holiday shopping season is just kicking off, and it’s very likely that retailers and carriers alike will continue to offer promotions around these new devices to spur consumers into action. As more and more new devices hit consumers’ hands in the next month, app marketers and developers will need to focus more than ever on adding value and offering the best experience to avoid the inevitable “app purge” that tends to follow the holidays.

Methodology

Localytics is the leading mobile engagement platform across more than 2.7 billion devices and 37,000 mobile and web apps. Localytics processes 120 billion data points monthly. For this analysis, Localytics examined the percentage increase of new devices in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Weekend, including Cyber Monday (Nov 23rd - Nov 27th) to a baseline of the prior four weekends in November (Oct 26th - Oct 30th, Nov 2nd - Nov 6th, Nov 9th - Nov 13th, Nov 16th - Nov 20th). A new device is defined as a device that is seen by Localytics for the first time by downloading one of the apps incorporating our SDK. To establish the difference between Thanksgiving weekend 2016 and Thanksgiving weekend 2017, Localytics took the published numbers from the report published last year and compared them to the data collected this year.

 

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