Do big holiday sales mean that Microsoft Surface tablets are for real?

Holiday sales and post-holiday usage numbers show big gains for Surface tablets. It is a one-time blip, or are bigger Surface tablet the wave of the future?

The latest figures showing big upticks for the Surface line come from the online ad network Chikita. Its most recent numbers show that the Surface line had 2.3% of all Internet tablet traffic in the post-Christmas period. That might not sound like a lot, but a year ago, its usage number was a mere 0.4%.

Not only that, but the Surface line also beat out the entire Google Nexus line of tablets. Chitika notes:

Microsoft’s Surface lineup also continued its impressive year end run. Surface users generated more tablet traffic than all Google Nexus tablet users following the holiday, making Microsoft the fourth-largest source of continental tablet Web traffic should it maintain the lion’s share of this latest share growth.

The increasing usage numbers mirror many other findings. ChangeWave Research found in the middle of December that 8% of people who expect to buying tablets in 90 days plan on buying a Surface. That's well behind the iPad with 72%. But it's just behind the Samsung Galaxy Tab with 9%, and the Google Nexus, with 9%. A number of outlets were sold out of Surface 2 tablets in the run-up to Christmas. In addition, the old Windows RT-based Surface tablet was the best-selling item at Best Buy on Black Friday, ahead of the Apple's iPad. Even though it was a markdown of the previous generation of Surfaces, it showed people are interested.

I think this is much more than a blip. Microsoft has finally figured out the Surface's primary niche, as a productivity tablet, and is marketing it that way. And it's powering up the line. The Surface Pro 2 is now shipping with a 1.9Ghz processor rather than the 1.6Ghz one it had when it began shipping two months ago, according to The Verge. I don't expect the Surface to ever challenge the iPad. But it could easily become the second most popular tablet line, and relatively soon.

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