Record Breaking Sales Mark the Beginning of the Tablet Wars

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Record Breaking Sales Mark the Beginning of the Tablet Wars

After enjoying a hugely successful Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Tablet manufacturers have made it clear that there is space for competitors in the open market for companies other than Apple. The HTC Flyer, BlackBerry PlayBook, and the Kindle Fire amongst other devices entered at price points which in some cases are less than half the price of the iPad; Black Friday and Cyber Monday have successfully kicked off the Tablet Wars.

To quantify the level of online activity seen for devices which experienced a significant mark-down (such as the Kindle Fire and the BlackBerry PlayBook), Chitika Insights conducted an impression based study covering a sample of over one billion data points dating from November 14th until December 6th. In both studies, an index was constructed where the largest data point was assigned a value of 100, and all other data points were a function thereof.

After a release on November 14th and record breaking sales figures reported for Black Friday, the Kindle Fire stands to become a hot ticket item for consumers in this year’s holiday gift baskets, especially with a price point of $200. Currently, the market is humming with rumors surrounding the Fire’s success. Target stated that the Kindle Fire was the store’s best-selling tablet on Black Friday. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, publicized that September 28th, the day the fire was announced was “the biggest order day ever for Kindle,” doubling the number of orders recorded in earlier Kindle launches. Some analysts even projected that the Kindle Fire will “rack up at least a few million units this holiday season and several million more next year.”

A previous Chitika Insights study showed a dip in online activity just after Black Friday, however looking at the latest data, the results are resoundingly in support of recent reports that consumers have embraced the Kindle Fire, and as a result buoyed its record sales. Online activity from the fire is at a record high, and shows no sign of slowing down.

The above graph highlights BlackBerry PlayBook web activity over the time period studied, and although it does not show as drastic a spike as that of Black Friday, few things are as dramatic as the terror of Black Friday shopping. Even so, despite its initial post Black Friday drop-off, the PlayBook’s online activity has continued to climb. The steady rise of its activity hints that RIM’s venture might have paid off. In a market dominated by the iPad and, more recently, the Kindle’s Android-based Fire, the PlayBook managed to entirely sell out at Best Buy on Black Friday. Judging by continued activity, its marketing strategy has succeeded in giving the PlayBook a boost in a highly competitive sphere this holiday season.

Whether this success, marked by the sudden fragmentation of the tablet market, is temporary or whether it will hold into the future is another question entirely. Will demand continue, or will this rise in activity taper off after the holidays end? Given the accelerated trend amongst tablet online activity, it would not be surprising to see the Fire, Playbook, and other mid-level devices fulfill many of the projections put in place by market analysts. Only time will tell.

Gabe Donnini
Gabe Donnini is a Data Solutions Engineer at Chitika and a lead author for reports by Chitika Insights, the research arm the online ad service.... Read Full Bio
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