Within North America, tablet usage figures directly following Christmas pointed to a surging Amazon and Microsoft, but as expected, Web usage share changes observed directly following the holiday did moderate as North American users went back to a more traditional week, and a correspondingly more typical level of browsing activity. Through a comparison of the below January numbers with what we observed in our last quarterly tablet update study this past fall, a clearer picture emerges as to how the larger tablet usage environment has truly changed. With the glut of new devices now in the hands of consumers – which tablet manufacturers are seeing their devices used more frequently by their new owners?
To determine the distribution of Web usage among leading tablet devices for early January 2014, Chitika Insights sampled tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian tablet ad impressions running through the Chitika Ad Network. The data used to compile current usage share was drawn across the time range of January 2 through 8, 2014. The historical year-over-year data in the charts below is drawn from Chitika Insights’ January 2013 tablet market update.
Despite a quarterly and year-over-year share dip, iPad share rebounded to a level slightly ahead of its pre-Christmas figure (77.3%), and its users still generate more than three quarters of all tablet-based Web traffic within the U.S. and Canada. Considering the overall share gain, it’s likely that while competing tablets may have had better Christmas seasons in terms of unit sales, iPad sales still held their own – helping to sure up Apple’s impressive usage share as we begin 2014 in earnest.
While Amazon and Microsoft both experienced the largest post-Christmas share gains, Web traffic from users of both manufacturers’ tablets largely reverted back to pre-holiday levels. However, both manufacturers saw 1 and 0.7 percentage point share gains quarter-over-quarter, respectively. Microsoft was perhaps one of the most notable year-over-year performers, with usage share of its Surface tablets (Surface RT and Surface 2) more than quadrupling over the period.
Samsung was the biggest exception to the post-holiday moderating trend experienced by other manufacturers. Users of its tablets actually grew their share of tablet Web traffic slightly, contributing to a year-over-year share gain of 2.2 percentage points – the largest of any manufacturer. The latest 1 percentage point quarter-over-quarter gain widens the gap between it and Google and Microsoft, among others. With Samsung aggressively pursuing the tablet space with a variety of models for the past several years, the progress here may be a sign that the company is breaking through.
Google Nexus tablet usage share has largely remained steady throughout the past year, but the next iteration, an 8-inch model, is rumored to have a debut set for mid-2014. Google is just the latest of many companies pursuing a more diverse screen size strategy – Apple is reportedly working on a 12-inch iPad to complement its 10- and 7-inch models, while Amazon and Samsung have both released several different sized versions of their tablets. With the market for tablets growing rather than contracting, it’s likely that this development is designed for a manufacturer to have tablet offerings for different segments of the population, rather than as a way to find the “perfect” screen size. Of course, the largest players in the space are best positioned to execute such a strategy, and their progress will be a segment to watch as we progress through 2014.