Did the Apple iPad hit a slump this holiday season? According to a study from mobile ad network Chitika, the watershed Apple slate sure did, even as its smaller sister device, the iPhone 5, experienced an uptick in consumer usage.
After reviewing the amount of user engagement the iPad and iPhone 5 experienced from December 1 to December 27, Chitika's report concludes that, after Christmas day, the Apple iPad family -- that includes the iPad with Retina Display, the low-resolution Apple slate, and the iPad mini -- showed a decline in usage.
According to the report which compared mobile device usage during a two-day period after the Christmas holiday to the first 25 days of December, the iPad showed a drop of about 7 percent in usage share during the post-Christmas wind-down. In the same time frame, the iPhone 5 managed a bump in usage: rising up exactly 1.11 percent after Christmas day.
The prevailing assumption here is that the iPad lineup's 7-percent dive in usage implies lower holiday consumer sales. Read: Uncle Bob didn't use his iPad mini much after Christmas because he was busy tinkering with his brand new Kindle Fire. Or maybe it was his Samsung Galaxy tablet or the Google Nexus slate. It may even have been his Microsoft Surface -- each of those products are included in Chitika's report. And like the iPhone 5, all those slates display positive usage shares post-holiday: 3.03 percent for the Kindle Fire, 1.38 percent for the Galaxy tablets, 0.92 percent for the Nexus slates, or 0.17 percent for the Surface.
That's a handful of tablets that out-performed Apple's halo device, but the iPad wasn't the only device to spiral out in the wake of torn Christmas wrapping paper and eggnog hangovers. In a true joining of extremes, the BlackBerry Playbook commiserates with the iPad in the losers' box, it's head hanging low with a declining usage percentage of 0.02 percent. Thanks to low consumer interest and functionality issues, the Playbook has all but disappeared from the tablet race, so it's safe to assume that particular product's usage numbers were already pretty low.
In the smartphone arena, the Samsung Galaxy S III, both Galaxy Notes, and the Google Nexus 4 join the iPhone 5 with increased usage after December 25. The closest rival is the S III with a 1 percent uptick in usage post-Christmas Day, followed by Galaxy Notes I and II with 0.17 percent and the Nexus 4 with 0.02 percent.
Chitika may have noticed slumps in some products' Web usage, but that observation does not imply a bad sales season for the iPad, nor a great boastful season for the long list of Android gadgets with increased Web usage on December 26 and 27. The study pits two days of usage against 25 days. The ultimate report of bountiful holiday sales, or abysmal ones, will likely come within earnings reports from the companies' themselves later in the new year.