First Quarter 2015 Tablet Update: Samsung Usage Share Increases by 88% Year-over-Year

First Quarter 2015 Tablet Update: Samsung Usage Share Increases by 88% Year-over-Year

  • 27 January 2015

Between January 2014 and January 2015, Samsung tablets experienced the largest increase in North American usage share of any other tablet brand. Conversely, users of Apple's iPad, while still responsible for the largest portion of North American tablet Web traffic, now generate a usage share 7.4 percentage points lower than January 2014, and 10.2 percentage points lower than January 2013.

To determine the distribution of Web usage among leading tablet brands for January 2015, 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 shares were drawn across the time range of January 2 through 8, 2015. The historical data were drawn from our January 2014 study.

iPad users generated 70.8% of North American tablet-based Web traffic in January 2015 - a share roughly 59 percentage points higher than second-place Samsung (11.5%). However, as noted earlier, Apple's 70.8% usage share represents a 7.4 percentage point year-over-year drop, and a 10.2 percentage point dip since January 2013.

Meanwhile, Samsung's 11.5% share represents the first time Chitika Insights has observed any tablet brand outside of Apple posting a double digit North American usage share. Additionally, Samsung's 5.4 percentage point increase is the largest year-over-year share jump of any tablet brand since we began conducting these tablet studies back in 2012.

It's likely that Samsung's North American year-over-year share increase was driven by increased activity occurring in later 2014, considering Samsung's 6.0% usage share in September. As such, its worth pointing out several steep discounts for Samsung tablets that began rolling out prior to the Christmas holiday. In the online space, Amazon discounted many Samsung tablet models by as much as 30% prior to Black Friday. Around the same time, Costco offered roughly 30% discounts on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8, and Best Buy reduced the price of Samsung's Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 to $200 - a device that previously retailed for $400. However, despite this recent growth in Web activity, it is possible Samsung's tablet usage share may ebb as we get further into the year - a phenomena we observed back in 2013.

Three other brands making headway over the last year are RCA, Verizon, and LG. RCA is particularly notable, as its tablets generated less than 0.2% of North American tablet Web traffic during the month of September 2014, but now have crossed the 1% mark. The brand's significant growth was largely precipitated by RCA tablets being offered by Wal-Mart and Target for the latter portion of 2014 – an item mentioned by research firm IDC as part of their 194% year-over-year market share growth estimate for the company.

Users of Verizon’s Ellipsis tablet series, which expanded with an eight-inch version in November 2014, now generate 0.9% of North American tablet Web traffic. While the Verizon-branded device was drawing less than 0.1% of tablet usage this time last year, rates have picked up recently. The current 0.9% share is a jump of 0.4% percentage points since September.

LG's tablet user base displayed one of the larger share increases over the past year at 0.6 percentage points. While LG recently unveiled a slate of new tablet offerings, it's possible a larger reason for the change stems from a joint AT&T promotion with the company providing a 99 cent (later free) LG tablet to buyers of any AT&T smartphone and accompanying service contract.

Taken together, these changes underscore how the tablet market has shifted more recently. As overall growth has slowed, players outside of Apple have begun to make headway in North America with less expensive tablet offerings. However, Apple still enjoys a very advantageous market position as its users still generate more than two-thirds of all tablet Web activity in North America.

Please note that while this study relied on Chitika ad network data, other studies, such as our iPhone usage rates by state study are based off of mobile app impressions observed through our Cidewalk mobile ad platform