No, The Pixel Did Not “Outsell” the iPhone X this Holiday Weekend

If you have been following headlines these past few days you likely have seen a slew of articles with titles not just strongly indicating, but explicitly stating that the Pixel 2 “activated more devices” over the Christmas weekend than iPhones. Unfortunately, the truth runs counter to such claims, though the original report still shows promise for Google’s second swing at their own branded smartphone.

Most of these articles stem from data provided by Localytics in which they highlighted the recent success of the Pixel smartphones. This data clearly highlighted the increase in new activations over the course of the Christmas weekend. The data provided in the chart, though, is where the source of much of this confusion. The chart featured above appears to indicate that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL saw 38% and 31% of the new activations over Christmas weekend, while the iPhone X and iPhone 8 slumped with 28% and 17%. However, the discerning reader, or writer, would also see the surrounding information provided by Localytics in the article:

“In what might be a surprise given the iPhone X’s performance over Thanksgiving weekend, it was Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL that showed the largest lift in new activations.”

This statement clearly indicates that they were comparing the previous Pixel activations to those occurring over the holiday weekend. To be specific, they state that they are comparing activations during the Christmas weekend against the average number of activations over the prior three weekends. Localytics followed with the statement (emphasis ours):

“It’s always important to note that despite the Pixel’s strong performance over the Christmas weekend, there are still far fewer active Pixel devices out in the world versus the vast network of iPhone users.

What should have been a fairly cut and dry article about how Google is seeing vast improvements over their own pace is instead incorrectly turned into Google outpacing the latest crop of iPhones, which is simply not true. Apple looks to ship around 30 million iPhone X’s over the first 3 months of availability, something Google could only dream about with the first Pixel phones selling only a few million units, or less.

It is not clear whether those sharing the incorrect interpretation were simply mistaken or posting a catchy headline for the sake of clicks, but as consumers it is always important to diversify where we get our information and data from. It is also equally important for outlets like ours to post sources for our data as well, as it took me quite some time to track down an article that actually linked to where the data was taken from.


Despite a very rocky and problem ridden launch it appears the Pixel 2 line to appear to be selling well. This could be due to the massive incentives from US retailers like Target and Verizon offering the Pixel phones with up to $550 in gift cards or reimbursements, and highlights the benefit of having a strong carrier presence in the US, where retailers and carrier partners can help move units with a much broader appeal to the traditional buyer than Google’s own online store. It could also be due to the fact that some time has passed since the launch of the phones and recent updates have patched much of the initial issues users experience. Google is also looking to further its international presence in India with physical locations to help them grow the brand. All of these moves signal Google taking their phone hardware seriously and looking to expand to new frontiers, something we arguably have not seen them do with the prior Nexus brand.

Either way, this is a promising outlook for Google going into 2018 and with a few more years and refinements in hardware and availability, Google could quickly see themselves vying for a sizable piece of the premium phone market, normally dominated by Samsung and Apple.


Did you gift or see someone get a new Pixel 2 phone this holiday season? What were their thoughts about the new phone compared to previous ones? What do you think Google needs to do to be a larger contender in the space? Sound off in the comments below!

 

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