The iPad is undoubtedly the king of the tablets, the device that took a form factor that had been around for more than a decade and thrust it into the mainstream market. But even Apple isn't immune to the fickle buying habits -- and price sensitivity -- of the general public.
According to data released by Chitika Insights, the research arm of the Chitika Ad network, iPad Web usage fell dramatically in the U.S. and Canada following Christmas day. Sample data collected from hundreds of millions of smartphone and tablet impressions between December 1 and December 27 2012 showed the iPad's Web usage share fell by a dramatic 7.1 percentage points after December 25, down to 78.9 percent from 86.0 percent.
What was bad for the iPad was good for the Kindle Fire, the Samsung Galaxy, and Google's Nexus tablets, with the tablets gaining 3.03, 1.38, and 0.92 percentage points respectively. It's not surprising that there were more Kindle Fire and Google Nexus tablets under the tree in December, given that both of these tablets are significantly cheaper than the iPad.
I'm certainly not surprised that the Kindle Fire did so well, because it is a solid, well-made, easy to use tablet. It's so good that sometimes it is hard to remember that it is not made by Apple.
Even Microsoft's Surface tablet saw a modest post-Christmas day bump in Web usage, up 0.17 percentage points.
While Christmas might not have been good for the iPad, it was good for Apple when it came to the iPhone 5, with the handset seeing a 1.11 percentage points rise, with the Samsung Galaxy S III not far behind with a Web usage share gain of 1 percentage points.
The boost is down to tablets that were previously gift-wrapped and safe under the tree being opened come Christmas day and hooked up to the Web. However, according to Chitika, this honeymoon period with these new devices will be short-lived.
"However, despite the gains by competitors, we expect that the iPad’s share of tablet traffic will return to the 80% range, albeit lower than pre-holiday levels," explains the report, "as users return from vacation and browse with their new devices less frequently."
Back in early December, Chitika Insights predicted that "credible competition coming from users of Amazon, Samsung and Google tablets," would put pressure on the iPad, and that the "2012 holiday season will likely lead to an increased presence of Android tablets when it comes to Web browsing."