The presence of tablets within North America continues to grow, with a recent report by Pew Internet Research finding that, among its survey group, 35% of Americans age 16 and over own a tablet device. While there has been some change in terms of Web usage share amongst different tablet users, this high rate of growth largely does not translate into a high rate of volatility when it comes to the usage share of various manufacturers. iPad users still generate 81% of all tablet Web traffic within North America, and while this is a three percentage point share drop since Chitika Insights’ June 2013 study on the tablet market, share gains have been spread out across various manufacturers.
Also in this latest tablet report, Chitika Insights sought to examine how usage of iPads and Android tablets varied by the time of day. Interestingly, despite the aggregate differences in usage volume, the hourly behavior of both respective sets of users is remarkably similar.
To determine the distribution of Web usage among tablet devices for the month of September 2013, Chitika Insights sampled tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian 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 September 15 through September 21, 2013.
For the hourly usage figures, Chitika Insights sampled tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian tablet online ad impressions running through the Chitika Ad Network. As with the manufacturer share data, the studied tablet impressions were drawn from the time frame of September 15 through September 21, 2013. An index was created to graphically represent the data. “100%” refers to the time at which iPad or Android tablet Web traffic is respectively maximized. If a point is “70%”, for instance, that means that the observed Web traffic at that hour is 70% of the traffic volume observed at the peak.
While iPad users still generate the lion’s share of North American tablet Web traffic, the hourly usage comparison shows how users of Android tablets are behaving more like their Apple counterparts in terms of daily usage patterns. While the iPad commands a great deal of attention from marketers, overall tablet market growth has led to Android tablets slowly becoming a more attractive target due to their growing presence in the overall computing landscape. The hourly usage figures largely matching each other should help marketers in planning cross-platform campaigns, but on a larger scale, it highlights the similarities between the different groups of users – a trend which may continue to develop.
The usage share numbers largely frame the market as we enter the holiday shopping season. More than 96% of all tablet Web traffic in North America is generated by users of just five tablet brands – Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Google, Barnes & Noble and Microsoft, the latter of which roughly doubled its usage share since June 2013. It’s possible these players will only strengthen their position in the coming months. Among other announcements, Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HDX models are just beginning to ship, Samsung has released its latest ten-inch Note tablet, and Microsoft is releasing its Surface 2. A speculated launch of one or more new iPad models this fall will also be closely watched within the industry. However, as Chitika Insights reported last year, initial tablet usage share figures following the holiday shopping season aren’t always indicative of sales figures.
While the release of competing tablets may lessen the new iPad’s impact on the market overall, it’s been nearly a full year since the debut of the 4th generation iPad and iPad Mini. This delay may make upgrading to the latest model a more attractive option for consumers. With these developments in mind, it’s likely that Q4 2013 will provide terrific information as to the general direction of the tablet marketplace moving forward.