Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Another Sketchy “Report” From “Analysts”

Remember Strategy Analytics’ reports from earlier this week, which showed that Android tablets had vastly overtaken iPad shipments by a whopping 40 percentage points? Get ready to have your mind blown again — Canalys has just released a similar report:

Over 34 million tablets shipped in Q2 2013, a 43% year-on-year increase. Tablets now account for 31% of worldwide PC shipments. But Apple’s performance faltered. Its tablet shipments declined 14% on Q2 2012 and its market share dropped to 43%. The chasing pack of Samsung, Amazon, Lenovo and Acer each grew annually by over 200%, driven by increasing demand for small-screen tablets.

As you’d expect, this bit of drama has received significant press exposure. But there are some issues with this report.

First, Canalys uses a Tynt-esque script on their page, and that’s very irritating.

More relevant to finding the bunk in this report is the lack of methodology. As ever, Samsung, et. al. don’t release their quarterly shipment figures; only Apple currently reports shipments in a number format, not in nebulous feel-good terms. Aside from an oblique reference on their “About” page, Canalys doesn’t publish their methodology:

Each of our services benefits from the same strict methodology, with clear, global definitions and detailed, country-level data published on the same day – no preliminary data or forecasts.

If they’re not using preliminary data or forecasts, they must have direct industry connections (or are using estimates, which they don’t specify). Strategy Analytics pegged the iPad’s market share in Q2 at 28%, while Canalys claimed it was 43% — a significant difference. I don’t trust either report, but why such disparity?

I have contacted Canalys with a request for comment, and haven’t heard back yet; I will update if I do.

If these numbers are, indeed, more reliable than Strategy Analytics’ figures, they’re still not borne out by browser share. All in all, Canalys’ report is suspect, and asks a lot more questions than it answers. All this does is bolster my argument that none of these research firms’ statistics can be entirely trusted.