Android Tablets "Clear Choice" for Holiday, iPad Web Share Falls

Android Post-Christmas Web Share iPad

Many Android-based devices were unwrapped on Christmas Day, causing a surge in Android tablet web traffic that knocked the iPad down over 7 percent, according to web advertising research firm Chitika on Wednesday. The iPad, which dominates overall web traffic among tablet devices, saw its share of traffic fall 7.14 percent after the holiday, while Android, led by the Kindle Fire and Samsung Galaxy Tablets, surged by about 5 percent.

Chitika’s metrics measure all iPad web traffic together, combining new and existing usage of every iPad model. For the first 25 days of December, the iPad accounted for over 86 percent of all tablet web traffic as measured by the research firm. After December 25, once a flood of tablets were gifted, opened, and powered on, Apple’s popular device fell to 78.9 percent of web traffic, still a large number, but a significant decline for such a short period of time.

Leading the Android charge, Amazon’s Kindle Fire line of tablets performed best, rising 3.03 percent to reach 7.51 percent of overall web traffic. Samsung’s Galaxy Tablet also saw modest improvements in web traffic share, rising 1.38 percent to 4.39 percent overall.

Google’s Nexus and Microsoft’s Surface showed slight improvements as well, with only the BlackBerry Playbook from struggling RIM taking a hit in usage share.

It should be noted that these numbers reflect web traffic share only, and not market share. Android tablet market share has recently pulled even with the iPad, but iPad owners have, at least until now, used the web more than their Android counterparts.

Still, Chitika’s post-Christmas web traffic measurements provide an interesting look at the tablet market. Either Android tablet owners are suddenly browsing the web more on their devices, or the number of new Android tablets was so large that the web share spiked despite the iPad’s historical advantage in that metric.

In addition to tablets, the top new smartphones were also measured by Chitika. Apple’s new iPhone 5 saw the largest post-holiday change in smartphone web usage, rising 1.11 percent to 8.27 percent overall. Samsung’s Galaxy SIII also grew by about 1 percent, to take 4.29 percent of the smartphone browsing market. Both are strong signs for Apple and Samsung’s flagship products.

Apple products still perform strongly in most industry analyses, but 2012 holiday season may have marked a change toward the often lower-cost, more diverse Android ecosystem for average consumers. “The change in smartphone market share doesn’t seem to be too surprising,” Chitika’s Gabe Donnini told VentureBeat. “But the data on tablets that we observed was very interesting… Android was the clear operating system of choice for consumers giving tablets in the holiday season.”

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