updated 08:45 pm EST, Tue December 11, 2012
Ad impressions up 28 percent per day, indicate strong sales
Last year, Amazon surprised many pundits and the public by claiming strong Kindle Fire tablet sales of more than a million per week during the holiday season, doubling overall 2011 sales. A new study that compares ad impressions in mobile apps compared that sales period to the current ad impression rate of the iPad mini and found that it garnering 50 percent higher activity than the peak of Kindle Fire sales. Calling the iPad mini a "game changer," Millennial Media safely predicts the iPad mini will emerge the winner of the gift wars this holiday season.
The company noted that even though quite a lot of iPad minis are not expected to be opened until after Christmas, the sales numbers (based on ad impressions Millennial tracks through its developer partners, meaning iPad minis already in use) would indicate that the smaller tablet is already seeing impressive sales figures. The company estimates that during its first weeks on sale, the iPad mini managed an average daily growth rate of 28 percent -- half again as much as the Kindle Fire during its peak sales from last year.
If Amazon's claims about the Kindle were true last year, then it may be the case that Apple is selling around 1.5 million iPad minis per week, which would add up to a healthy quarter for Apple. Moreover, Millennial doesn't think that the variety of competing tablets -- some at much lower price points -- will affect sales, nor does it see iPad mini sales "cannibalizing" full iPad sales.
The company believes the iPad mini will simply extend the market for tablets by creating a less-expensive but iOS-compatible version of the iPad. Users who already have one iOS device will be able to use the same apps and OS on the iPad mini, a significant advantage over getting an Android-based tablet. The iPad mini will also be seen as a good companion product to give to children and teens rather than the significantly more-expensive full-size iPad. The company believes that tablets such as the iPad mini are likely to steal more from PC marketshare than from larger tablets.
Millennial says the iPad mini's apparent success in the market confirms the consumer desire for different sizes of tablets, and encourages developers to make sure their apps can work at the most popular sizes. The $100 higher price for the nearly 8-inch product (compared to 7-inch competitors) doesn't appear to be a significant barrier, given the advantages (particularly for people who already own iOS devices) as well as the universally-praised fit and finish of the iPad mini compared to its rivals.
Unlike last year, Amazon has not released any figures on sales of its tablet line, though it is expected to remain one of the more popular options among Android tablet choices.