Apple's iPhone 6 Plus Phablet Wins the Holidays

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

An attendee demonstrates the new Apple Inc. iPhone 6 Plus after a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.

New research points to Cupertino as leading the phablet charge, despite joining "late" in the game.

Flurry, the mobile usage analytics firm acquired by Yahoo this past summer, has released its research on holiday season tablet and phone purchases as well as Christmas Day app installs. The clear winner? Apple.

Flurry found that a majority, 51.3 percent, of mobile devices activated between Dec. 19 and Dec. 25 were from Apple, with Samsung trailing far behind at 17.7 percent. Nokia, Sony and LG's combined device activations accounted for 8.8 percent of the total over that period.

Year-by-year comparisons of the many sizes available to users -- from full-size tablets to small tablets to phablets to "medium" phones -- show that the phablet category (larger than a phone, smaller than a tablet, and which began to gain traction after the introduction of Samsung's Galaxy Note phone in 2011) is a favorite among holiday shoppers. In 2013, phablets accounted for 4 percent of holiday sales -- this year, 13 percent. Every other size category shrunk: large tablets were down from 17 to 11 percent, small tablets were down from 12 to 11 percent, medium phones were down from 65 to 64 percent and small phones were down 3 to 2 percent.

That growth in the phablet category would seem to be driven mostly by Apple's introduction this past September of the iPhone 6 Plus, the company's first phone offering in the larger size. The conclusion is easy to draw, considering Apple's mobile sales dominance during the season and that the company did not offer a phablet in 2013.

And what's the first thing you do with your shiny new device? (Other than drop it.) Install apps, of course. Flurry found that app installations increased 150% on Christmas Day -- and that's following a busy November, too. Hardly a surprise, considering that's basically what you do with the things.

Let's just hope none of these gift-abuzz new owners are very active.


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