iPad users generated 79.9% of North American tablet-based Web traffic over the month of September 2014 – a share down from the 81% figure observed one year ago, but a gain of 1.9 percentage points since July 2014. Meanwhile, Amazon and Samsung tablets are, respectively, still the second- and third-largest sources of tablet Web usage in the U.S. and Canada after both posted slight quarter-over-quarter share drops over the study period.
To determine the distribution of Web usage among leading tablet brands for September 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 September 1 through 30, 2014. The historical year-over-year data were drawn across the time range of September 1 through 30, 2013.
Samsung tablet users exhibited the biggest year-over-year usage share gain at 0.9 percentage points. The Korean device maker released six new tablet models in North America through the first seven months of 2014, double the number released during all of 2013. The next largest year-over-year share increases were posted Microsoft (+0.6%) and Verizon (+0.5%).
Microsoft’s increase, which does not include traffic from the more laptop-like Surface Pro models, benefited from nearly a year’s worth of Surface 2 purchases, as that tablet went on sale in October 2013. Verizon’s Ellipsis tablet hit store shelves in November 2013, and seems to have experienced a good deal of success despite being the first tablet to sport the Verizon brand name – a testament to the carrier’s sales strategy for the device.
While the iPad user base posted a slight year-over-year usage share loss, iPad users generated the largest quarter-over-quarter usage share increase of any tablet brand at 1.9 percentage points. A variety of larger retailers including Best Buy, Target, and Staples discounted iPad Mini and Air models leading up to the release of two new iPads early this fall, which may have contributed to the recent share rise. While Apple has stated that global iPad sales have trended down over the past few quarters, this doesn’t seem to quite as true domestically, as IDC notes that the U.S. is driving growth in the tablet market in general.
Users of the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet family generated the same share of North American tablet traffic in September 2013 and 2014 at 6.7%. However, Amazon is in the process of refreshing nearly its entire tablet lineup prior to the holiday season, which should help drive, at the very least, some short-term increases for Fire tablet usage share.
With Amazon, Apple, Google, Sony, and other brands all overhauling one or more of their tablet offerings in advance of the 2014 holiday shopping season, the North American market remains tremendously competitive. We do expect the fallout from these developments to manifest themselves most dramatically directly following the Christmas holiday, but the usage share volatility that traditionally accompanies this time period means that early January may yield the most accurate picture of the post-holiday North American tablet ecosystem.