Amazon Kindle Fire already cooling off, study suggests

Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet may already be cooling off following a huge launch that likely placed the slate among the most popular media tablets to launch so far. A new study conducted by ad network Chitika found that Kindle Fire usage ramped up at a modest pace following the device’s launch, and then exploded around Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving weekend, however, usage fell off a cliff, dropping more than 85% by November 30th. Read on for more.

Chitika analyzed over one billion ad impressions served over the course of the two weeks ending November 30th, and traffic to Amazon’s Kindle Fire over that period of time paints a curious picture. Usage grew at a respectable rate following the tablet’s launch in mid-November, and then shot up sharply on November 26th. In the few days that followed, however, usage declined rapidly, dipping below the levels seen ahead of the spike.

“It would seem that although the Kindle was able to attract a significant user base given its mid-range price point of $200,” Chitika’s Gabe Donnini noted in his report. “Once the allure of the device wore off, user activity fell as well.”

Donnini goes on to suggest possible causes for the rapid drop off, including hardware limitations like the lack of support for cellular connectivity and a small amount of storage, or a limited feature set that might not provide enough “bang-for-buck value.” He also suggests that Amazon’s custom OS may fail to make the device truly accessible to all users.

“The Kindle Fire certainly is a step in the right direction for Amazon and one of their most impressive tablets to date,” Donnini wrote. “It offers significant benefit at a relatively low cost, and if you’re willing to pay the extra mile, you can gain access to services such as Amazon’s Digital Content platform. However, if you are expecting a full-fledged tablet, you may be disappointed with functionality, given the Kindle Fire is more of an E-reader+.”

Despite the slowed usage, Amazon’s Kindle Fire still appears to be an early success. Amazon does not share sales numbers, but the retailer did announce on Monday that its tablet was a big seller over the Black Friday shopping weekend. Amazon also drew attention to the fact that the Kindle Fire has been Amazon.com’s best-selling product for eight weeks running.

BGR reviewed the Amazon Kindle Fire last month and we were impressed with the company’s first entry into the tablet space. We thought the device packed plenty of punch for such an affordable slate, and we said it would likely find its way to becoming one the best-selling Android tablets in the world. Chitika seems to disagree, however.

“With the current level of competitiveness in the tablet market, currently dominated by the iPad, it appears that Amazon has a long way to go in terms of offering the complete and viable tablet experience,” Donnini noted. “Will this usage downtick prove to be simply a small bump in the road for the Fire, or will it be the beginning of a longer and more pronounced decline? With what we’ve seen so far, it would seem that, while Amazon may be able to attract temporary attention by offering a shiny device at a mid-level price point, in order for Amazon to truly compete in the tablet [market] in the future, they may want to place greater emphasis on producing a product that falls in step with consumer demand on points other than an attractive price point.”

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