Mobile app analytics firm Flurry just released some holiday tablet sales numbers and noted that on Christmas, Amazon’s tablets were activated 24 times more often than on a normal December day — a much higher increase in product activations than experienced by competing tablets from Apple, Samsung or Acer.
In other words, Amazon’s tablet continues to be extremely popular as a gift, thanks largely to its low price. Amazon sells its tablets at break-even pricing, aiming to make money on content sales and e-commerce purchases when people use the tablets.
The challenge for Amazon is maintaining strong sales throughout the rest of the year. The Kindle Fire has been called the “fruitcake of tablets” — a device that people buy as a gift but don’t necessarily buy for themselves. The Kindle Fire typically drops out of the top 5 in worldwide tablet market share outside of the holiday season.
That could be changing. Amazon’s “Christmas activation bump” was actually less pronounced this Christmas than in years past, when it was as high as 41 percent, according to the Flurry data.
In a review of the Kindle Fire HDX, my colleague Todd Bishop wrote earlier this month that it would be a shame for tablet buyers not to consider the Amazon tablets for themselves (not just as gifts for others) thanks to the strong content offerings.
Flurry analyst Mary Ellen Gordon writes, “We believe price, business model, target market, and form factor all contribute to the big boost in Kindle activations at Christmas relative to other times of the year. Amazon sells Kindle tablets at cost, putting them within the Christmas budgets of more people than some other devices. The reason Amazon sells tablets at cost is that for them tablets are a channel for promoting physical goods and promoting and delivering digital content. That same retail business model means that Amazon is top of mind for many consumers during the holiday season, giving it lots of opportunity to promote its tablets as Christmas gifts.”
Amazon released the Kindle Fire HDX this fall and is marketing the tablet aggressively in advertising campaigns, using head-to-head comparisons with the iPad Air, and promoting the new “Mayday” customer service button — one that saw a response time of nine seconds during this holiday.