Why Mobile Marketers Should Watch the Google Pixel’s Nearly 300% Growth Rate in Early Adoption
A little more than a month ago Google announced it was challenging Apple and Samsung head-on for smartphone market share with Google Pixel. Since its October 20th launch, Google Pixel sales have done exceptionally well. The early growth rate is at nearly 300%. But what does that really mean?
To understand Google Pixel’s growth, from October 20–27, 2016 the team at Appboy analyzed more than 100 million daily app devices (an app device is a unique device and app combination). Here’s what we found and what it means for marketers.
Benchmarking Pixel’s growth
A growth rate of 300% seems really impressive, but to put it into perspective, let’s take a look at how Google Pixel’s growth compares to other smartphones.
Pixel and Pixel XL reached 0.016% and 0.020% market share just one week after they were released. That’s about half the time it took Nexus 6P to reach this level of market share.
This higher adoption is likely driven by the partnership with Verizon, allowing in-store availability on launch date, better shipment logistics, and marketing.
As far as raw numbers are concerned, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7 had greater adoption on their first days than Pixel or Pixel XL had in the first week. This is most likely due to the might of Samsung’s more refined manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. But these first day sales numbers just tell part of the story.
Google Pixel and Pixel XL volume grew by 274% and 158% one week after launch vs. launch date. These numbers are quite favorable compared to the Galaxy S6 and S7’s 104% and 171% growth.
The largest increase in adoption rate was the day following the release date; we see this with Galaxy S6 and S7 as well. We observed a smaller than expected Pixel XL increase the second day after release, influenced by the 128GB Pixel XL, which sold out online and was unavailable in-store. We also observed a surprising spike for both the Pixel and Pixel XL on October 25 as more pre-ordered devices shipped and reached consumers.
By the end of the year, Pixel and Pixel XL are expected to sell 3–4 million units. This would be 12–15% of the Samsung Galaxy S7’s 26+ million market share. All things considered, this is a very strong start for Google Pixel.
How Google Pixel affects competitors
It’s always fun to discuss the new shiny gadget with your coworkers at the water cooler, however Google Pixel’s impact extends beyond small talk while you hydrate. It could potentially change the dynamics of mobile marketing.
Google Pixel represents a real effort on Google’s part to exert influence on Android beyond the operating system itself. Perhaps more important, it’s the company’s first real effort to compete directly with Apple’s iPhone.
Google’s last attempt at a phone, with the Nexus 6P, resulted in an admitted flop. So the higher adoption levels compared to the Nexus 6P suggest that Google’s latest hardware effort is beginning to bear fruit.
It’s still early, and that means Google Pixel and Pixel XL haven’t reached the point where they can be seen as the flagship Android devices. That title still currently belongs to Samsung, even though that title is in jeopardy after the Note 7 recall debacle.
What Google Pixel means for marketers
If the Pixel becomes a serious challenger to iPhone or Samsung devices, it could mean a few things. First, it could drive Samsung (and other Android device makers) to get more serious about encouraging users to get the most recent versions of Android. More users of Android’s latest version would open up more opportunities to take advantage of Google Assistant and other new Android-supported capabilities to reach larger segments of that audience.
Should Google Pixel seriously take a bite out of the iPhone market share, it will change how marketers have to approach their mobile messaging strategy. Marketers currently have to address both iOS and Android users, who have different user behaviors. Android users log more monthly app sessions than iOS users, are more likely to opt into push notifications, and are more likely to open them. More Android users could mean marketers have more opportunities to connect with their users.
While still early, it’s clear that Google Pixel has a lot of potential for Google’s hardware efforts. If they can pair their search and software dominance with their own phone, it might mean tough days for Apple. Marketers should keep an eye on Google Pixel’s continued adoption as they look forward to 2017.