Microsoft Surface RT Usage Share Rises Significantly Following Price Drop

Microsoft Surface RT Usage Share Rises Significantly Following Price Drop

  • 25 October 2013

Released back in October 2012, Microsoft Surface RT was the computing giant’s first major attempt at designing its own hardware. Additionally, debuting alongside a substantial advertising campaign and sales push, Surface RT was immediately positioned as Microsoft’s flagship Windows tablet. Unfortunately for the Washington-based company, initial sales of the device were not as high as hoped, as Microsoft took a $900 million write down in Surface RT inventory in July 2013. In terms of usage, Chitika Insights had found that Surface RT users generated only 0.5% of all North American tablet Web traffic in June 2013. However, subsequent price cuts on the device beginning in July look to have substantially improved the device’s fortunes in this area, as the share of tablet Web traffic generated by Surface RTs nearly doubled following the promotion’s rollout. As Apple’s iPad commands an 81% share of North American tablet usage, for additional clarity, Chitika Insights focused on non-iPad tablet traffic for the purposes of this analysis.

To quantify the usage share of Microsoft Surface RT from June through September, 2013, Chitika Insights sampled tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian non-iPad tablet online ad impressions running through the Chitika Ad Network. The data used within the most recent analysis were drawn from impressions catalogued across the time frame of June 1 through September 30, 2013. Data points are plotted on the basis of a seven-day rolling average. Each point represents the average usage share over the previous seven day time period.

During the first week of June 2013, North American Microsoft Surface RT users generated 3.3% of all non-iPad tablet Web traffic. By the final week of September 2013, Surface RT’s share of non-iPad tablet Web traffic had grown to 5.7%. Along with the 2.4 percentage point gain in share, Web traffic generated by Surface RT devices rose by 159% between the first and final days of the study, as compared to an average of 38% for all other non-iPad tablets.

The sustained rise in usage share largely coincided with the Surface RT price cut that went into effect during the mid-July time frame. Microsoft isn’t the first to see benefits from such a strategy. Price cuts have corresponded to usage share gains from other tablets in the past, such as in the case of the Amazon Kindle Fire family, which saw a notable rise in usage following a series of discounts that went into effect during August timeframe.

Following the share increase, Surface usage rates amongst non-iPad tablets are now largely on par with Barnes & Noble’s Nook (5.9%) but still below that of Amazon (34.6%), Samsung (27.5%), and Google (7.9%) tablets.

It should be noted, that despite these recent gains, users of Microsoft Surface RT still generate only 1% of all North American tablet Web traffic. This figure may continue to grow depending on the market reaction to the Surface 2, a new version of the Microsoft tablet, which was released in stores on October 22, 2013. Regardless, while Surface undoubtedly still has room for growth, the most recent usage increases are a promising sign for the long-term viability of the tablet, with usage shares among the top five non-iPad devices.