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Tuning into signals from the tablet’s market noise

Last year’s explosion of the tablet’s market still makes many industry analysts and forecasters dizzy, but the consensus of opinions seem to be, that iPad “owns” the segment with shipping and sold-through numbers.

RBC Capital Markets expects tablet market to reach 185 million units in calendar 2014, up 83 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 17 million in calendar 2010. RBC Capital forecasts global tablet revenue to increase from $11 billion in calendar 2010 to nearly $70 billion in calendar 2014.

In another article somewhat similar numbers were quoted

IDC found that almost 18 million tablets shipped worldwide in 2010–with Apple nabbing 83 percent of the market, which would come out to around 14.9 million tablets shipped.

Although IDC was relying on shipment figures and not actual sales to customers, Apple CEO Steve Jobs did specify sales figures at the iPad 2 unveiling earlier this month. He revealed that Apple sold 15 million iPads to customers in 2010.

For its part, Samsung reportedly shipped about 2 million Galaxy Tab units through 2010, but the actual sell-through to consumers was much lower. One month after its introduction, the company confirmed that they sold 1M units.

However I could not find any reports or even estimates for shipping or sold numbers of any other tablet that is currently on the market, I did see a lot of inquiries though.

For a long time I was interested in the correlation between numbers of products (units) sold and numbers of customer reviews for the product posted online and here I attempt to connect those dots.

Our aggregation algorithms found 1,299 customer reviews for Apple iPad and 294 customer reviews for Samsung Galaxy Tab. Average effectiveness of our algorithms was measured at 87%, in other words they find on average 87 online customer reviews out of 100 that can be found by a skilled, internet savvy research analyst. By applying 13% correction to the number of customer reviews found, and dividing the result by a number of iPads sold we can estimate that Apple had to sell just over 10,000 units to generate just 1 customer review (10,151). The calculations of these ratios for Samsung Galaxy Tab and other Consumer Electronics products produce very consistent results averaging around 0.014%. I did a similar analysis for flat screen TV products a few months ago.

I suggest that there are two practical implications that come out of this reasoning:

1.      The average review/product ratios could be used to estimate numbers of products sold in circumstances where such information is not disclosed by a company;

2.      The statistical significance of an issue or a benefit, reported by customer in their reviews is dramatically amplified when you consider the low percentage of customers who volunteer such information for public benefit.

Using the above mentioned logic I can offer a rough estimate of sales numbers for other, reasonably popular, tablets currently being sold.

To complete the picture I ran our Opinion Miner software on this data set to produce Customer Intelligence for these products. The result below shows a subset of these product’s attributes that are the most important to their customers, along with measurements of difference between customers expectations and their experience for each attribute. Click on the image to enlarge it.


Comments & Thoughts

  1. [...] have studied before the correlation between number of reviews published online and a number of units shipped, and therefore found it important to use it for [...]

  2. [...] advocacy of its customers and the advocacy is not likely without engagement.  We have noticed the correlation between number of reviews published online and a number of units shipped, and therefore found it important to use for further [...]

  3. Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.

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