Data Monday: Android Tablet Use

by Luke Wroblewski October 6, 2012

According to recent polling, many Americans have non-iPad tablets but they don't seem to be using them much -at least not to view Web pages...

  • A Pew Internet Research survey of of 9,513 U.S. adults ending August 2012 found 22% of US adults owned a tablet computer. That's twice the number from a year earlier. (source)
  • The same survey noted that 52% of tablet owners said they own an iPad, 48% said they own an Android device. 21% of which were Amazon Kindle Fires based on the Android operating system. (source)

Based on this survey data, you'd think Web browsing on tablets in the US would be almost evenly split between iPad and Android tablets. Yet this isn't the case at all.

  • Apple's iPad represented 98.1% of 29.5 million unique impressions over 1,200 sites in September 2012 according to OnSwipe's analysis. (source)
  • The iPad accounted for 94.64% of all tablet based traffic in May 2012 according to Chitika's network study. (source)
  • In October 2011, the iPad accounted for 95.5% of all tablet web traffic in the US according to ComScore. (source)

So if Android tablets and iPads are neck and neck in marketshare, why is there such a difference in Web browsing share? Perhaps Android tablets feature small screens, which leads to less Web browsing. Or maybe the 21% of Android tablets made up of Kindle Fires is bringing down the average due to usability issues. As Apple's CEO Tim Cook pointed out at the recent iPhone 5 launch:

"iPad accounts for 91% of all the web traffic from tablets. I don't know what these other tablets are doing. They must be in warehouses or on store shelves, or maybe in someone's drawer."

But perhaps the most simple answer is right: Pew's survey research might not be an accurate reflection of actual tablet marketshare.