Unscientific Data Suggests iPad Crushed Xmas Sales

| Analysis

King iPadSome 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.

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I see that “First tweet from my new Pope-mobile” got a tally mark. But does anyone know if he’s talking about his sled or his phone?


Bryan, Analysys International reports that the iPad has a massive 71% share of the tablet market in China despite that sea of “cheap knockoffs and cheaper Android tablets”. 

That was in Q3 2012, before the iPad mini was released, so the chances are the iPad may indeed have seen just as disproportionate sales as the rest of the world, if not more considering the Chinese taste for high end status items.


Re. considering the Chinese taste for high end status items.

Hmmm.. That has not been my unscientific observation while in Asia.


Wow, basing figures from twits, how scientific.
Curious how I could have bought a truckload of ipads from Walmart and other stores for christmad while every place I checked were sold out of nexus 7s. Sales clerk told me they get 12 nexus 7s and sell out that day while ipads sit on the shelf.

Perry Clease

Nothing like these kind of stories to brong out the Android fan astroturffers.


In the real world, Google only managed to sell 500,000 Nexus 7’s during its first month on sale, 6-700,000 the second month and less than a million the third month according to Asus’s the manufacturer.

In contrast, Apple sold 3 million iPads during 3 days at the launch of the iPad mini and the iPad 4 with analysts expecting around 25 million sold this quarter.

The evidence points to the tweets being far more accurate than your personal anecdote.


Further proof of Bosco’s statement about “the rejection of the control freak approach to business.”  Oh, wait a minute, hmm, this appears to be counter to Bosco’s statement.  Huh, I just don’t understand why more people aren’t rejecting Apple’s control freak approach to business.  Can anyone explain that to me please?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Scoreboard alert… On the actual day that RonMacGuy called me out on my AAPL $530 prediction for Jan 1, AAPL started an 11% downward slide and seems to be headed south of 500. Can anyone explain that to me, please?


Sure Bosco, that’s an easy one.  Changes in capital gains tax rates have tons of people selling a stock that at $700 a share was returning over 70% in 2012 (this date in 2011 AAPL was trading at $407 a share).  Anyone with half a brain (myself included - yes, I only have half a brain) had limit orders in place to sell AAPL if the price starts to or continued to drop.  Still, at $515 a share today AAPL is outperforming google by 2.5 times since this date in 2011, and outperforming DJIA by 4 times.  Did I make that easy enough for you to understand?

It is hilarious that you take as a victory a prediction related to the stock market and capital gains realization.  I will be really impressed if you actually get the Tim Cook part of your prediction correct by March 31, 2013 - I’m still waiting for Ive to leave Apple from your last epic failure Apple-leadership-related prediction.


There Bosco, I explained it to you.  Your turn.  Please explain where people are rejecting Apple’s “control freak approach to business” and how you can possibly still be using that is terminology relating to the most valuable company in the world.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Wow. Just classic. My stalker regurgitates half of my reasoning (fiscal cliff) about why AAPL would be at $530 on January 1. He does it on a day when the sharp rise in the final two hours comes on the heels of a counterexample of the other half of my reasoning.

I think Apple is out of ideas for awhile (other half of my reasoning), and that’s weighing on the stock. So this comes along at 2pm EST and gooses the price.

Copy on, Ron!


LOL.  Well, if you knew the answer, why did you ask, “Can anyone explain that to me, please?”

But nice avoidance of my question.  Childish name calling and accusations.  No big surprise though.


Come on, Brad.  Now’s your chance.  As I said, your turn.  Please explain where people are rejecting Apple’s “control freak approach to business”.  We are all ears.  You’ve been saying this for years.  In light of this article (http://iphone.appleinsider.com/articles/12/12/21/iphone_5_launch_propels_apple_to_53_of_us_smartphone_sales.html), Apple iPhone is dominating all those android phones these past 3 months.  How can this be if people are rejecting Apple’s control freak approach?  Please man up and explain this to us, if you can.  Or, ignore me as you usually do, and prove exactly what you are.

Ah, my favorite Bosco quotes from Jan 31, 2011 - They never get old:

“Humor me a minute. What if the market is actually making a fairly rational
decision to reject Apple’s command and control model? See, I think it is
because the shift in the market tracks closely with my own awakening on the
openness thing in smart phones. But if Android falters, as you’d all like,
I’ll take a look and figure out why that is, and adjust accordingly. At
what point will any of you be willing to admit that the market as a whole
just doesn’t like what Apple is selling? That the early success of the
iPhone was due to early adopters willing to sustain Apple’s margins and
turn over control of their phones to the all-knowing Apple?”

“I won’t have to use any excuse, but if Apple comes back
and dominates the smart phone market, I’ll admit I was wrong. But it’s not
happening, which is why it’s so much fun watching you guys all try to
explain why Apple continues to win by being less relevant!”

“The fun part is that we’ll be doing this all over again in a year for the
declining and mostly irrelevant iPad, and you’ll all be explaining why that
isn’t like the iPhone, which isn’t like the 1992 Mac, etc.”

So, how can every other smartphone in the US the past 3 months be iPhones?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Pent up demand for upgrades. The comScore rolling installed base market share doesn’t show much growth in August, September, October. Less, in fact than Android in the US in the same time period. November rolling numbers (Sep/Oct/Nov) should be out Monday. I think you’ll see a small spike from Apple—might catch Android growth—that will diminish over the coming months as a new generation of Android phones appear and make the iPhone 5 stale.

Also, I wouldn’t put such high stock on Kantar Worldpanel. They don’t focus on the mobile market or have a track record with reports on mobile.



Just a pedantic point of order.

There are no non-scientific data; only non-scientific methodology and/or interpretation/conclusions. Data themselves are merely points of observation. Based on study design and methods, they may or may not support or justify a specific conclusion.

Whether or not ‘first tweet’ prevalence by device is proportional to either device purchase or, in this case, device utilisation in a particular medium (Twitter), has not been established, at least not by Buzzfeed. One of many alternative explanations could be that Twitter account holders and iPad users may represent a common population, in which case, we call this confounding; that is iPad ownership and tweeting are not independent, but related. Perhaps Surface, KF and Nexus users are too busy doing other things, or are as a population, less likely to tweet. Personally, I don’t believe that for a picosecond, but it cannot be ruled out by the limitations of this ‘study’.

Indeed, as you point out, this observation is complemented by others more rigorously conducted around internet use and purchasing behaviour, and does beg the question, ‘What hath become of those other tablets, and how passeth for them their day?’. Methinks, however it passeth, and whatever the reasons behind it, these non-iOS tablets, at least thus far, are not used like the iPad.

And therein may lie a mystery whose unravelling might cause men’s (or at least a few tech CEOs) hearts to tremble, their faces to ashen and their hair to turn white from fear (some poetic licence with respect to those non-hirsute Amazon and MS CEOs).

I continue to suggest that the majority of the planet have yet to figure out just what a so-called tablet computer is, or how it can be used, and that, unless as with the supportive ecosphere surrounding the iPad, one is invited to explore unsuspected uses of the tablet, they may fill only a limited niche, until a newer generation comes along and takes that use to another level.


Valid points, Bosco.  But they still do not support your position of ‘rejection of Apple’s control freak approach to business’.  A rejection of Apple would result in a decline of volume, not an increase.  We both can agree that android is growing faster than Apple, and that’s fine, but Apple is still growing.  android outgrowing iOS is not due to a rejection of Apple but simply more choice in size/color/feature/function of phone.

My entire issue with you has always been your pure resentment of Apple making you say things that don’t make any sense or making you predict things that don’t happen.  Simply stop your troll-like behavior and I won’t have a need to bring up your historic failed predictions.  But as you said before, you are sadistic and love to create the drama by saying these things, so I don’t see any end to it.


Bosco said:  “Scoreboard alert… On the actual day that RonMacGuy called me out on my AAPL $530 prediction for Jan 1, AAPL started an 11% downward slide and seems to be headed south of 500. Can anyone explain that to me, please?”

AAPL at $532 a share on Jan 1 (well above the Bosco failed prediction of $530), and $549 a share today.  Not too shabby a start for 2013!!

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