Some rather unscientific, but equally interesting, data suggests that Apple's iPad crushed the competition this Christmas. Buzzfeed did some surface (::giggle::) level data mining on Twitter and found nearly four times as many people tweeting from their new iPad as the next three devices combined.
The media outlet did a search in a 24 hour sample of tweets for Christmas looking from the term "First tweet from," and then counted the tablet devices that followed. That search found 1795 tweets from iPad, 250 tweets from Amazon's Kindle platform, 100 from the Google Nexus 7, and 36 from Microsoft's Surface RT.
That's 4.66:1 in favor of the iPad, for folks following along at home.
We should emphasize that this is utterly unscientific. As noted by Forbes, such a search misses out all manner of other ways to say "I am using my new tablet that I just got for Christmas." That said, while it's probably not accurate in absolute terms, it is likely a fine arbiter in snapshot terms for knowing which device was under the most trees.
On the other hand, we could be seeing a continuation of the strange reality that once people buy non-iPad tablets, they don't appear to do anything with them. Perhaps Christmas was more of a 50:50 kind of thing like the last quarter, but once they were opened, Nexus and Galaxy Tab and Kindle Fire HD owners just went ahead and put them on a shelf rather than use them, saving them a few days of pretending otherwise.
On the other-other hand, when it comes to Surface RT, 1795:36 isn't that far off from Gene Munster's report from November. At that time, he staked out the Apple Store and Microsoft Store in the Mall of America in Minneapolis and counted 11 iPads sold compared to zero Surface RT devices.
Mr. Munster's research in this area is also not intended to be comprehensive or particularly scientific, but rather to serve as a snapshot view for his clients. The important thing to note is how these two disparate data sets converge rather closely.
There's also the rest of the world. China's top microblogging site is Weibo, not Twitter, and there is almost no chance that iPad won what Christmas buying there is in that country, at least not by those kinds of margins. Cheap knockoffs and cheaper Android tablets by tiny companies have a much better foothold in China than they do in the rest of the world.
We should be seeing other reports and estimates in the next two weeks, which will take us into earnings season. That's when we'll know for sure. In the meanwhile, Buzzfeed's efforts serve as a starting point.
Image made with help from Shutterstock.