updated 01:00 am EST, Fri November 18, 2011
Casts doubt on competitor tablet sell-through
A new analysis of web traffic share of iPad and other tablets suggests that genuine Android tablet sell-through to consumers may be even lower than previously thought. The iPad is widely reported to have about 75 percent marketshare, but web traffic shows the real penetration is closer to 88 percent globally and even higher in the US, approaching 96 percent, Royal Pingdom reports.
While Apple tends to report actual numbers sold through to consumers when commenting on iPad sales, most of the competitors only mention sales to wholesalers, not end users. Consequently, Android tablet sales often look larger than they actually are.
Last month, Android division head Andy Rubin cited six million Android tablets in the market, but didn't specify user sales versus shipments. Even so, by the same point in time, Apple had reported selling around 40 million iPads in total, and were selling them to users as fast as they could make them. This gives the iPad an 85 percent marketshare when considering shipments.
The difference between shipments and sales, however, might be detected by tablet web traffic -- since it is a logical assumption that nearly all tablets of any sort will be used to surf the web once in consumers' hands. The survey company comScore reported in October that iPads were accounting for 95.5 percent of US web traffic, which is almost the exact same percentage the iPad is credited for (95.7 percent) in total video hours streamed as reported by Ooyala in the summer quarter.
At least in the US, the iPad appears to be dominating sales far more than its "shipment" marketshare would suggest. It may also point to the idea that non-iPad tablets are getting the majority of their sales outside the US, which would support StatCounter's claim that iPads have 87.6 percent of global tablet traffic (Android tablets are said to have 11 percent, leaving just one percent for the other tablet platform makers). For perspective, however, even the iPad's impressive sales and web use give it only 1.2 percent of global web traffic overall (almost two percent in the US).
It's possible the results are skewed by presuming that Android tablet owners surf the web considerably less per capita than iPad owners, but otherwise the analysis paints a grim portrait of poor sell-through of Android tablets in North America, with companies relying on non-US sales and shipment figures to bolster the image of Android as a real competitor in the tablet space. Android phones, on the other hand, continue to do extremely well -- but Apple's position in tablets is more akin to its position in the music-player segment. [via Royal Pingdom]