Our January 2014 report on the North American tablet usage environment showed slight year-over-year share gains for several larger manufacturers. As we move through Q2 2014, Samsung’s share growth remains particularly strong, with some of its recent momentum likely due to the release of several new tablet models this past quarter.
With the share increase, Samsung users now generate the second-most North American tablet Web traffic at 8.3%. However, Apple’s iPad remains the far away leader, with its users continuing to generate more than three quarters of all U. S. and Canadian tablet-based Web traffic.
To determine the distribution of Web usage among leading tablet devices for early April 2014, Chitika Insights sampled tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian tablet-based online ad impressions running through the Chitika Ad Network. The data used to compile current usage share were drawn across the time range of April 1 through 7, 2014. The historical year-over-year data in the charts below were drawn from Chitika Insights’ April 2013 tablet market update.
The proverbial elephant in the room is iPad usage share, which still stands at over 77% of all U.S. and Canadian tablet-based Web traffic. This is down a few percentage points year-over-year, but the current share is very notable in the context of the North American tablet market, which analyst estimates pointed to growing significantly throughout 2013 from a penetration standpoint. While it is uncertain if Apple can reverse the tide and grow its domestic tablet usage share in the coming months, it is clear that iPad users remain the most active aggregate tablet user base by a wide margin, with that likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.
The new number two player, Samsung, has grown significantly over the past year. Between April 2013 (4.7%) and April 2014 (8.3%), the share of U.S. and Canadian tablet Web traffic driven by the Korean manufacturer’s tablet users grew by 2.6 percentage points overall, or about 75%. Remarkably, Samsung also exhibited the largest year-over-year share gain (+2.2 percentage points) last time around, and considering this latest progress, it’s reasonable to assume that Samsung’s long-standing effort to break in to the North American tablet marketplace is paying dividends.
Meanwhile, Amazon has not kept pace with Samsung from a usage share perspective. At 6.1%, North American Kindle Fire users exhibit the lowest usage share observed for the brand since the 2012-2013 holiday season. Considering that we have recorded two previous quarter-over-quarter usage share gains for the device family, the latest dip does not necessarily indicate a trend, but will be worth watching as we move through Q2. Additionally, the Kindle Fire’s close relationship with the Amazon content ecosystem, which has grown more robust in recent months, may mean that Kindle Fire users aren’t currently spending as much time browsing the Web using their device as compared to consuming in-app content.
Google Nexus tablet usage share grew slightly since Q1 (+0.3 percentage points), which contributed to a 0.6 percentage point year-over-year share increase. This growth could be perceived as a promising sign for the upcoming Nexus tablet releases in mid-2014. Google’s rumored 8-inch version of its Nexus tablet would be the latest in a series of releases from many manufacturers to widen their respective variety of tablet size options. With new devices from Apple and Amazon still to come, how numerous these options become in 2014 will provide more clues as to the direction of the industry moving forward.