Black Friday bargains prompt consumers to self-gift iPad Air

Gregg Keizer
5 December, 2013
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Aggressive discounting by Apple and its biggest retail partners last week resulted in a surge of new iPad Air tablets going online.

According to Boston-based Localytics in the US, a mobile analytics and marketing firm, 51 percent more iPad Air tablets accessed its clients’ apps over the Black Friday weekend than during the same period seven days before.

Dave Hoch, a business analyst at Localytics, credited the jump in iPad Air detections to discounts and bundled gift cards that Apple and others used to drive purchases on the US holiday season sales kick-off. “Combined with a smaller base of iPad Air devices and the novelty of the iPad Air, [this] resulted in the iPad Air dominating on Black Friday weekend,” Hoch wrote on his company’s blog this week.

The device with the second largest increase in new devices was Apple’s first-generation iPad mini, the 2012 7.9in tablet that also received gift card support. According to Localytics, its app network saw a 26 percent increase in new minis compared to the week before.

That increase in iPad mini devices was even more impressive, since the mini has been available for more than a year. With its much larger installed base, each percentage point of increase would have required considerably more units than the relatively new iPad Air.

On Friday 29 November, Apple ran its annual Black Friday sale, which included a $75 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of an iPad Air, and a $50 card with the original iPad mini. In the US, those deals competed with – but did not match – ones at other retailers.

As Hoch noted, Apple recently introduced the iPad Air. It unveiled the lighter, thinner version of its iconic tablet on 22 October and began selling the device on 1 November. The first-generation iPad mini received a price cut on 22 October, the same day Apple rolled out a Retina-equipped model.

That more expensive mini increased its Localytics presence by 17 percent.

And Localytics probably exposed just a portion of the devices, including the iPad Air, that were purchased last week.

“Last year, we saw aggregate usage figures provide much more meaningful data following the Christmas holiday, as the majority of devices purchased over the [Black Friday] weekend are likely to be given as gifts at Christmas,” said Andrew Waber, a spokesman for Chitika, a Westborough, Massachusetts mobile ad network.

Unless consumers preemptively tried their new iPad Airs before wrapping them as gifts, the increases seen by Localytics most likely represented tablets bought by customers inspired to ‘self-gift’ because of the Black Friday bargains.

Localytics chart

An analytics firm's count of Apple's iPad Air tablet jumped 51 percent after the Black Friday sales weekend. (Image: Localytics.)


by Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

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