The iPad: Still the Only Tablet That Matters, If the Indirect Metrics are to be Believed

by Joey deVilla on December 28, 2012

"Hail tot he King, baby": iPad and iPad Mini

For the moment, it seems that the iPad is the only tablet that matters. While it’s difficult to get a direct measure of the numbers of types of tablets out there, there are a number of ways to approximate those numbers through indirect means.

Indirect Metric #1: Ad Impressions

The iPad family of tablets account for the vast majority of ad impressions seen on tablets in North America. According to the December 2012 Tablet Market Update put out by the online advertising network Chitika, for every 100 iPad impressions, the other tablets combined have less than 15. Here’s how those less-than-15 impressions break down:

Chart: Average Tablet Impressions per 100 iPad Impressions

These numbers come from a sample of “tens of millions” of impressions from Chitika’s ad network seen U.S. and Canadian tablet users from December 8th through 14th, 2012. For every 100 iPad impressions for the aforementioned user base during the aforementioned period, other tablets produced the following numbers of impressions:

Tablet Number of impressions per 100 iPad impressions
Amazon Kindle Fire 4.88
Samsung Galaxy Tablets 3.04
Google Nexus Tablets 1.22
Asus Transformer 0.93
Barnes & Noble Nook 0.91
Acer Iconia 0.76
Toshiba Thrive 0.60
Motorola Xoom 0.59
Other Android Tablets 0.45
Microsoft Surface 0.22
HP Touchpad 0.18
Unidentifiable Android 0.17

Chitika’s numbers seem to indicate that the iPad family of tablets generate over 87% of U.S. and Canadian tablet web traffic. While this is a slight decrease — it was over 88% a month ago — it looks as though Apple will continue to dominate web traffic for the foreseeable future.

Indirect Metric #2: First Tweets

Here’s a graphic created by one A. X. Ian, who goes by @axian on Twitter, showing the results of his search for the phrase “First tweet from” followed by iPad, Kindle, Nexus and Surface:

Ian’s search was performed on Christmas Day, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, which he describes as “plenty of time for lots of people to open their presents”. Here’s his count of tweets at the end of the 24-hour sampling period:

Tablet Number of “First time on this tablet” tweets
Apple iPad 1,795
Amazon Kindle 250
Google Nexus 100
Microsoft Surface 36

Indirect Metric #3: Store Wars

The scene in the video above — recorded at Lone Tree, Colorado’s Park Meadows Mall on Black Friday — seems to be playing across the U.S. and Canada, wherever Apple and Microsoft stores are in the same mall. This pretty much captures what’s happening in CTS’ home town of Toronto, where there are both an Apple Store and a Microsoft Store in Yorkdale Mall, as well as in Century City Mall in Los Angeles:

Empty Microsoft Store and busy Apple Store

Meanwhile, in China and Hong Kong, Business Insider reports that there’s an “insatiable demand” for the iPad Mini.

Indirect Metric #4: Go on a Flight and Look Around

Woman on plane with iPad

I fly about once a month, and both in the lounge and on the plane, I see more and more tablets. Some people do their work, some read, and some bring them as their own personal in-lounge/in-flight entertainment units. No matter what they’re using their tablets for, the one thing that binds them together is that by and large, they’re iPads.

This article also appears in Mobilize!: The CTS Mobile Tech Blog.

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