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iPad traffic dips across North America

Apple's tablet still dominates web usage, according to stats from ad network Chitika, but Samsung tablets have picked up speed over the past year.

Apple's iPad has lost ground in North America to Samsung tablets. CNET

Apple has lost some of its tablet traffic in North America to chief rival Samsung.

Earlier this month, iPad users accounted for 70.8 percent of all tablet web traffic in North America, online ad network Chitika said in a study released Tuesday. Though that number kept Apple in the top spot by far, it showed a drop of 7.4 points from a year ago and a dip of 10.2 points since January 2013.

At the same time, Samsung's share of tablet web traffic in North America jumped to 11.5 percent this month, a gain of 5.4 points from last January. That increase is the largest one seen year over year by Chitika since it started tracking tablet usage in 2012.

The iPad has slowly watched its overall tablet market share sink as an array of Android rivals have flooded the market, including Samsung's Galaxy series. In fall 2010, iPad shipments accounted for 87 percent of the worldwide market, according to research firm IDC. By mid-2014, that figure had shrank to 27 percent, IDC said. Though the iPhone is Apple's chief moneymaker, the company still relies on the iPad as a revenue generator.

Tablet demand in general has also started to drop as more people are buying big-screened smartphones as alternatives and are holding on to their existing tablets. And the iPad remains a relatively high-priced tablet in comparison with the competition.

"As overall growth has slowed, players outside of Apple have begun to make headway in North America with less expensive tablet offerings," Chitika said. "However, Apple still enjoys a very advantageous market position as its users still generate more than two-thirds of all tablet Web activity in North America."

How did iPad sales during the holiday quarter? We'll find out later Tuesday as Apple announces its December quarter earnings.

Samsung managed to woo tablet users during the holiday-shopping season with deep discounts on certain Galaxy devices through such retailers as Amazon, Best Buy and Costco, Chitika noted. As one example, Best Buy slashed the cost of Samsung's Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 to $200 from its regular retail price of $400. However, with the holiday season and its discounts now over, Chitika suggested that Samsung's share of tablet traffic may drop, a trend seen in 2013.


Among other tablet vendors tracked by Chitika, Amazon took third place with an 8 percent share of web traffic. Microsoft grabbed fourth place with a 2 percent share, followed by Google with 1.3 percent.

To determine the share of web traffic among leading tablet makers, Chitika looked at tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian tablet-based online ad impressions running through its network. The company compared stats collected from January 2 to 8 with those from a study done a year earlier.