posted by Caitlin O'Connell
With Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, the results are in and it’s clear that there’s a new kid in town. Google’s new Pixel smartphone, released just last month, cracked the winner’s circle, while the incumbent Apple devices have seen better days.
We analyzed both Android and Apple devices to see which experienced the highest lift in new device activations since Thanksgiving, as well as which specific day of the holiday period had the most device activations. Note that new device activations are not a measure of actual sales of each device, just how many people activated one of these devices during the timeframe.
The Google Pixel emerged as the ultimate victor as it experienced a 112% growth of new devices activated as compared to the average of the activations from the previous four weekends.
While this huge lift may surprise some, it will also confirm what many have believed since the device was released in October: the Pixel is a very impressive device. While already receiving critical praise, the Pixel models are also beginning to meet analyst’s sales expectations, which is very good news for Google.
Also of interest is the fact that 46% of the Pixels that were activated over the weekend were through Verizon, which is trying to become the exclusive carrier for the device, and offered a generous discount (nearly $400 less than retail prices) over the shopping holiday. But, that means the remaining 54% of new Pixel users purchased the phone from Google or from a retailer and settled for the smaller discounts being offered by other carriers like T-Mobile. This is a testament to the strength of the Pixel and requires a highly motivated buyer.
Android fans should also be encouraged to see the Samsung Galaxy S7 in the second spot of weekend winners. With Samsung unable to rely on the Galaxy Note 7 to get them through the holidays, the company was forced to shift its focus to the older Galaxy S models. Samsung reiterated the safety of the devices, and retailers such as Best Buy offered some impressive deals for Android addicts.
Apple devices filled out the rest of the top 5, thanks in large part to offers from retailers like Best Buy and Walmart on the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and iPad mini 2. Apple historically does not offer major discounts on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, though this year the company did offer gift cards on full priced-items.
Apple released the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus this past September and both models had impressive early adoption. The great early start seen by these models might explain why the holiday weekend wasn’t entirely impressive, as those who really wanted the device had already purchased it.
Still, the iPhone 7 saw a respectable 13% lift in new device activations versus the prior four weekends, but the iPhone 7 Plus only experienced a 1% lift.
During last year’s Black Friday weekend, the newest Apple models fared much better. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus saw lifts of 36% and 29% respectively.
When we look across all Apple device activations over the holiday weekend, there are a number of interesting takeaways. First, the iPhone 6 and 6S models saw lower activations versus this time last year which is not a huge surprise given the minimal deals being offered on each model. Additionally, the iPhone 5S was the only phone to have a positive lift in new device activations year over year, which is somewhat surprising given that this phone is more than 3 years old. But, Target was offering it for almost $250 less than the regular retail price.
Similar to last year, iPads had a more impressive showing than iPhones. While not as striking as the lifts of last year, all iPad models saw positive lifts in new activations versus the prior four weekends. With impactful iPad deals from retailers on Black Friday, the holiday weekend once again gave consumers a reason to buy the more extravagant tablets.
Interestingly, Thanksgiving Day saw the highest number of new device activations with 22% of the total, narrowly beating out Saturday which came in at 21%.
In recent years, retailers have pulled in holiday shopping deals to begin earlier, and this year was no exception. Giant retailers like Amazon and Walmart increased their sale offers dramatically in the week leading up to Thanksgiving and clearly it paid off with many folks cashing in before the holiday arrived.
Saturday coming in second place should not be too much of a surprise as consumers are setting up their recently purchased devices from Black Friday and trying out apps on their new models. Cyber Monday falling in last place also should not come as a surprise, since consumers purchasing devices online have to wait sometime until they receive their device and are able to activate it.
With another holiday shopping weekend come and gone, it is now time for brands to evaluate how their apps fared. New devices tend to bring about more churn of apps as users decide which apps to bring to their new device. As such, apps need to be ready for any and all devices, in experience and performance, to convince those users they are worthy of making it onto the new device. And more importantly, apps need to protect their relationships with mobile users by being smart about how they engage with those users. Only those apps that offer the best experience and the most value to users will survive the inevitable “app purge” of the holiday season.
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 on Black Friday Weekend (Nov 24th - Nov 28th) to a baseline of the prior 4 weekends in November (Oct 27th - Oct 31st, Nov 3rd - Nov 7th, Nov 10th - Nov 14th, Nov 17th - Nov 21st). 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. For the analysis on which day had the most activity, Localytics examined the most popular Apple and Android devices and determined the total percentage of new devices for these models on Thanksgiving (Nov 24th), Black Friday (Nov 25th), Saturday (Nov 26th), Sunday (Nov 27th) and Cyber Monday (Nov 28th) from the total number of active devices for these days. To establish the difference between Black Friday 2015 and Black Friday 2016, Localytics took the published numbers from the report published last year and compared them to the data collected this year. Data is based on the US.
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