In Black Friday Aftermath, iPhone 6 Activity Outperforms Competitors
What insights can we glean from smartphone web usage post-Black Friday? Find out from columnist Andrew Waber of Chitika.
Widely-cited National Retail Foundation data suggested that Black Friday 2014 wasn’t nearly as successful from a sales perspective as previous years — a trend that was also reflected in Cyber Monday data the following week.
Brands and retailers didn’t seem too concerned, with the prevailing logic being that the holiday shopping season has simply extended itself, with discounts (particularly those offered online) available over a longer period of time.
Regardless, consumers still made the Friday after Thanksgiving one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and in this column, we’ll examine which mobile devices saw the largest increases in web usage share following Black Friday — indicating people took the opportunity to buy these new devices for themselves or others.
The data utilized for the purposes of these analyses were drawn from tens of millions of smartphone- and tablet-based online ad impressions running through the Chitika network. All impressions included within the sample were generated by users within North America, and are segmented based on device type.
For the purposes of clarity, both the tablet and smartphone graphs focus solely on the most popular devices in that category from a usage share perspective. Additionally, to provide an accurate picture of how Black Friday web traffic deviates from “normal” days, both data sets compare each device’s average traffic share over the first three Fridays in November to what was observed on November 28.
As we’re looking solely at usage, these data should not be taken as a surefire indication that a given device has sold X number of units. Nonetheless, the changes in web traffic do provide a good view into which smartphones and tablets drove the most interest on Black Friday, as usage data includes things like web traffic coming from consumers playing around with a device at an in-store display, on top of browsing activity from any newly purchased devices.
For marketers, this can serve as a kind of “taste of things to come” in terms of which platforms are driving more consumer activity and hence how mobile may shift following the holiday season.
Smartphone Share Increases
Let’s first begin with the smartphone market, with the iPhone 6 making the most noise from a share increase perspective:
As compared to an average Friday in November 2014, the share of smartphone Web traffic driven by iPhone 6 increased by 0.8 percentage points on Black Friday. This is more than double the week-over-week usage share variations for the device observed throughout the month.
That’s not the case with the other devices included in the study, which all exhibited usage share increases more in line with typical week-over-week variances.
While Black Friday shoppers undoubtedly bought each of the smartphone models in varying quantities, this markedly higher jump in iPhone 6 activity does make the case that this holiday season is likely to be an especially good one for Apple’s flagship device.
Tablets Harder To Predict
The same kind of predictions are a bit harder to make when discussing the tablet space, as the variances there were much smaller as compared to smartphones:
This lack of any significant activity increase could indicate several potential scenarios.
Smartphones have added in new functionality like water resistance, NFC payments, and camera specifications that can make a real difference in consumers’ daily lives and interactions, but the advances in tablets often boil down to display, weight, and performance improvements, which don’t present the same kind of value.
As such, the incentive for existing tablet owners to upgrade is not as powerful, nor is the need to play around with a tablet in store to compare options — they pretty much know what they are getting.
This lack of exciting features likely builds upon the slowdown of the tablet market in general, with multiple analyst firms observing consumers holding on to their tablets for more than three years.
Certainly, tablets will remain a sizable part of how the nation computes; however, with the growth of large-screened smartphones and the activity in the wearables space, don’t expect the trend to reverse for tablets anytime soon.
Smartphone Playing Field Narrowing
Certainly, the tablet slowdown and changing consumer tastes don’t make effective mobile marketing any easier for practitioners, but these Black Friday usage statistics, along with wider analyses, do indicate that the smartphone ecosystem is arguably becoming dominated by a decreasing number of players.
A full 83.5% of smartphone usage in North America is generated by Apple, Samsung, and LG smartphone users — an astonishing figure, and one that marketers can hang their proverbial hat on in terms of planning for compatibility and functionality.