On Friday, November 28, 2014, Barrons reported on some numbers coming out of IBM on Black Friday online shopping. In an article titled Apple Makes Up Third of Black Friday Online Buying, as Wiis, Xboxes, and iPads Fly, Tiernan Ray refers to some data coming from IBM and opines on the portion of sales made via devices running Apple’s iOS O/S. This segment, per Ray, looked like “31% of total online traffic”. Barrons goes on to note this portion “more than double[s] devices running Google’s Android software.”
Pretty impressive numbers, right? Not so fast. When these numbers are compared to the numbers published by IBM about the same type of consumer buying activity merely a year before, on Black Friday, 2013, a lot of the air comes out of this dirigible. On November 30, 2013, Jay Yarow published a similar article for Business Insider. This time titled Here’s A Problem With The Theory That Android Is Taking Over The World, Yarow summarizes IBM’s conclusion as follows: “iOS traffic reached 28.2 percent of all online traffic, compared to 11.4 percent for Android. iOS sales reached 18.1 percent of all online sales, compared to 3.5 percent for Android.”
When the Black Friday, 2014 stats are seen in perspective with the same data for the previous year, iOS penetration of the total online consumer market merely increased 9.9%. As well, Android may actually have increased its portion of the market segment (I can’t make this claim as the numbers Ray provides in his article are approximate, whereas Yarow provided more specificity in his piece for Business Insider).
So one could easily recast Ray’s presentation into a recount of how online consumer markets are actually stabilizing and, despite reports of feverish consumer appetite for the new 2014 iOS models, Apple only grew its segment in the high single digits, etc.
Ray, in fact, takes a break from the otherwise glowing recount to note a telltale sign things may not be as sanguine as they seem: “That growth is actually below a 13% growth projection that Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster had attributed to IBM as a forecast heading into the day.” Munster appears to be pointing to the total size of the online consumer buying experience for Black Friday, 2014 as a little more than half as large as IBM had originally predicted it to be. So much for predictive analytics, right?
Bottom line: Black Friday, 2014 wasn’t as much of a coast for Apple as Ray seems to be portraying it to be.
Ira Michael Blonder
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