A couple of tweets by tech analyst Horace Dediu which break down online mobile device sales for the period of Thanksgiving/Black Friday 2012 reveal somewhat surprising results, depending on your perspective.
On Sunday November 25 he tweeted his analyses of the sales numbers in the form of several graphs:
Share of traffic sources: US online shopping during Thanksgiving/Black Friday 2012 (v 2.0)twitpic.com/bgghv3
— Horace Dediu (@asymco) November 25, 2012
This was followed by a two-sentence tweet about Android vs. iOS numbers:
According to today’s Macalope Daily column on Macworld.com (by my favorite mythical beast):
It’s traditional to use the appellation “number cruncher” for someone like Horace Dediu, but that seems inadequate. Dediu does not so much crunch numbers as he vaporizes them.
Over the weekend, Dediu posted a couple of tweets on Twitter—as one does (it would be embarrassing to post them anywhere else)—that noted some interesting data points about Black Friday online sales traffic. The first noted that iOS made up a whopping (the Macalope is required by law to use the term “whopping” here, because of the number) 77 percent of mobile online sales. Android made up 21 percent.
This is where the Henry Blodgets and Dan Lyons of the world try to jump in and say “But Android must surely be growing at a faster rate than iOS!” Which is also where the Dedius of the world say “Not so much.” While Android grew from the prior year by 244 percent, iOS grew by 379 percent.
Well, who cares?! What matters is market share, right? Who cares if Apple device owners are more inclined to throw away their money in an orgy of capitalist hedonism than ooooh, right, developers.
Which, of course, is what the Macalope’s been saying for, oh, ever. But to your Blodgets and Lyons (and if you have Blodgets and Lyons, call your local exterminator—those things will gnaw through your woodwork and generally just drive your property values down), developers will eventually standardize on Android because it’ll get so big that they’ll simply have to! Even if most of the money is spent on iOS. Because, uh, hey, look over there! Is that Steve Wozniak riding a Segway and wearing Google Glasses?!
Dig into Dediu’s numbers a little further and you’ll find that the Kindle accounted for just one percent of all mobile sales, losing out to even the Nook. Billy, the Macalope’s rhetorical-question-asking construct asks “Wait, isn’t Amazon’s whole strategy to sell the Kindle Fire at cost and make it up on sales?” That’s right, Billy, and thanks for asking. The flaw with the plan seems to be that people who want to pay next-to-nothing for a tablet are, by definition, not exactly big spenders.
OK, this is one day’s worth of traffic, so big deal. But it’s one day’s worth of traffic that just happens to coincide with study after study showing that iPhone and iPad owners simply use their devices more. And it shows that the trend is toward them spending even more with their devices.
See, all we hear from Android analysts is how Android is beating down iOS like the New York Giants did the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night…and how the Kindle is a major player in the tablet scene.
It would appear that in reality, neither was the case online this past Black Friday.
While, as the Macalope points out, this is only one day’s representation of sales, there’s no reason to believe that this sample is going to be all that different any other day–just smaller.
Also, to be fair–Horace Dediu is an Apple analyst, and his analysis of the company’s business strategy and financial predictions has given him a solid reputation. However, there is no spin possible in the interpretation of these sales numbers…other than Brand X handily beat Brand Y.