Nielsen Corrects The Number of iPad App Users

Headline in Register

Headline in Business Insider

Nielsen has come out with a report about iPad users that contained one widely quoted (by Register, Business Insider, RWW, among many others) number - 32% of iPad users haven't downloaded a single app. This number has just been adjusted down to a much more reasonable 9%.

Mistakes happen, and this one shows how little filtering is done to the press-released info by publications that tens of thousands of us read every day and use in our work -- has a single one of those that turned the "32%" number into a headline called Nielsen to ask for a clarification? This is why we end up reading such ridiculous claims as "iPhone apps are bigger than television" that are based on stuff that doesn't make a lot of sense when you stare at it for more than a second.

Also, it's interesting how the adjustment in the number of people who have downloaded an app had no influence on the breakdown of the downloaded apps by type.

Before: 32% of iPad users haven't downloaded apps

Before: 9% of iPad users haven't downloaded apps


  1. My favourite Nielsen crap was an instance in Russia. Nielsen reported that my client, a major whiskey brand, had dropped it's on-trade market share by 50%. Naturally, the brand manager whose bonus depended on this, investigated. It turns out the sample for data collection was three outlets, and one had de-listed the product...

  2. With Nielsen data, it is advisable to always have the benefit of the doubt. I am saying this as someone who's been "in their kitchen" long enough to know how things work. Nielsen reports are often churned out by under-paid, overloaded personnel, and all sorts of mistakes are mandatory for almost every report produced there.

  3. It is surprising that Nielsen would mess up a number this bad. 32% compared to 9% is a pretty substantial gap. It is scary to think how many other facts they have possibly missed on. This is especially true when you look at how many writers quote Nielsen and write stories about their results. This definitely changes my opinion a little bit on Nielsen and they lose some credibility in my mind. As one of the largest suppliers of marketing information, they need to be more accurate in these claims. However, it is respectable that they did the right thing and corrected the results. Is it safe to say the person in charge of this 32% claim may not still be employed by Nielsen?


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