Phones 4u reported a 30% increase in contract sales pre-Christmas, as Tesco also claimed a record breaking end to 2011.
Phones 4u trading director Scott Hooton said the ‘extensive’ amount of smartphone launches during 2011 benefited retailers. He identified Apple’s iPhone 4S and Samsung’s Galaxy Ace and Galaxy S II as Christmas bestsellers, with Nokia’s flagship Lumia 800, which had experienced a slow start to sales, close behind.
Footfall and online traffic were both ‘significantly’ up on 2010, said Hooton. He added: ‘As a result, prepay sales were strong in December, as expected by the time of the year, and our total contract sales increased by circa 30% versus the same period last year.’
Since Christmas, Hooton said Phones 4u had seen a significant increase in footfall compared to the previous year and had made a ‘strong’ start to 2012. He said: ‘This has resulted in a 25% increase in volume versus the same sales period in 2010.’
A Tesco Mobile spokesperson said that 23 December was one of its most successful sales days to date. It also sold the most airtime in one day during the Christmas weekend. Accessory sales at the supermarket MVNO had like for like sales growth of 30% on 2010.
The spokesperson said its ‘unique rewards’ offers were among its most popular, citing its HTC Wildfire S deal that offered the smartphone with 600 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data for £25.54 per month from Boxing Day.
Vodafone said it had also experienced strong growth in accessory sales. A spokesman for the operator said sales of covers and cases were up by almost a third during Christmas. Contract and pay-as you-go sales were both up by double-digit figures, with the biggest sellers BlackBerry, Apple and Samsung devices. However, he said more than half of its pay-as-you-go sales came from Vodafone’s own-brand devices like the Vodafone 555 and Vodafone 340.
Carphone Warehouse declined to comment on its Christmas performance. The retailer is due to report its latest set of financial results on 24 January.
In the last week of trading before Christmas, the Apple iPhone 4S continued its domination of contract handset sales with a 21.6% share of the market, according to figures obtained by Mobile.
Meanwhile, a late flurry of sales of the 8GB iPhone 4 saw it snatch second place from Samsung’s Galaxy S II. The iPhone 4 had an 8% share, compared to the 7.3% share of the Galaxy S II.
While there was no place for the Nokia Lumia 800 in the overall sales charts, it placed 10th in the upgrades chart.