Phablets ate tablets this Christmas

Posted on: 01:34 PM IST Dec 30, 2015

Christmas Day 2015 set new records for new smartphone, phablet and tablet activations and for app downloads, and according to Flurry’s figures, based on 780,000 apps the firm tracks, more consumers unwrapped an iPhone than any other smart device.

In total, 49.1% of devices activated on Christmas Day were of the Apple variety and although that figure is down slightly on 2014 where iPhones and iPads accounted for 51.3% of activations, it’s still some way ahead of Samsung. The Korean brand accounted for 19.8% of all activations.

Phablet

Phablet (Image: Bacho/shutterstock.com)

In a very distant third in the global charts was Nokia (2.0%) and the top five for Christmas Day was this year completed by LG (1.7%) and Xiaomi (1.5%).

What makes these figures remarkable is that Xiaomi handsets are currently only available in China and traditionally December 25 is not a day associated with the giving of gifts. Yet they not only made the charts, they pushed Sony out of the top five in the process.

However, regardless of the country where the gift was unwrapped or whether the device runs iOS or Android, the chances are that it had a big screen.

For the first time ever phablets accounted for half of all Android device activations. Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus, its better-late-than-never entries into the phablet market also accounted for just 12% of iOS device activations. This still made the 5.5-inch screen handsets more popular than the iPad Mini (9%) and marginally less popular than the full-size iPad Air (14%).

When all the figures for all operating systems are added together, phablets accounted for 27% of all devices activated on December 25, globally, compared with 9% for full-sized tablet and 9% for smaller slates.

All of which means that big phones are anything but a fad and that Samsung deserves credit for singlehandedly creating the category. Even 12 months ago phablets represented 13% of device activations (in 2013 it was 4%), meaning that their popularity has doubled over the course of 2015.

However, what is about to disappear is the small smartphone with a screen size of 3.5-inches. Once the de facto form factor, they now account for just 1% of new devices and Flurry forecasts that come Christmas 2016 they will be extinct.

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