The iPad Tractor Beam: Over 25% of iPad owners are first-time Apple product buyers

Apple’s revolutionary iPad is drawing new consumers to the Apple brand with more than 25% of iPad owners saying the device is their first Apple product. According to leading market research company, The NPD Group’s recent Apple Ecosystem Study, 33% of U.S. homes, (37 million households) own Apple products. While a majority (69%) of these consumers own iPods, ownership of iPads is growing.

“iPad sales are growing much faster than any other Apple product has this soon after launch,” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at NPD, in the press release. “”In fact, one-in-five Apple owner households has one — nearly equivalent to the number that own an Apple computer. This demonstrates the appeal of both the new form factor and Apple’s app ecosystem.”

Historically, the iPod has been the introductory Apple device for consumers, with 82 percent of owners saying it was their first Apple product. This, however, is changing as first-time Apple buyers gravitate toward other product lines. While over 70 percent of long-standing Apple owners began their relationship with the brand by way of the iPod, this number declines to just 57 percent among those entering the Apple franchise in the past two years. Newcomers to the brand increasingly turn to the iPhone or iPad as their first Apple device, which combined account for one-third of first-time Apple purchases since 2010. NPD’s Retail Tracking Service shows iPod sales declined nearly 18 percent in 2011, a result of consumer preference and digital media playback functionality migrating to other portable devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad (both of which contain iPod functionality).

On average, Apple households own 2.4 Apple devices but technology ownership in these homes spans across multiple manufacturers and platforms. Six- in-ten (58 percent) households owning a Mac also own a PC, and nearly 30 percent of Apple brand enthusiasts own a non-Apple smartphone.

“Apple’s OS X, iOS, and App Store are platforms specially tailored for their products,” said Arnold. “Should more households become multiple Apple product homes, these platforms will become even more important in the acquisition and sharing of content between devices. “Forty percent of electronics shoppers say owning devices in the same brand family is an important purchase factor. As consumers look for greater interoperability between devices and more brands become aligned with platforms, we could see fewer multi-brand ecosystems in the household.”

Methodology: More than 3,000 consumers from NPD’s online panel participated in the study which was conducted in February and balanced to represent U.S. household demographics. Nearly one-third of the respondents owned at least one Apple device.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Magical attraction.


  1. iPod sales are declining — when you are talking DEDICATED iPods. But every iPhone and iPad is/has an iPod. So… iPod sales are through the roof!

    Remember the iPhone launch? “An iPod! A phone! An Internet connection device!” If I remember correctly, iPod was the 1st feature.

    1. The article IS talking about DEDICATED iPods.

      I’ll cut and paste for you

      This, however, is changing as first-time Apple buyers gravitate toward other product lines.

      Newcomers to the brand increasingly turn to the iPhone or iPad as their first Apple device

  2. Why has Apple succeeded?

    They are not sitting around waiting for other companies to show how it should be done; but innovating it themselves.

    The idea of having a small design group with a small budget develop a device and go on to an unrelated product while manufacturing then shoves it into production where it remains unchanged for years is a failed concept today.

    Companies may deny it “because this product is good enough; it works great.”

    It is great until your competitor makes 10 incremental improvements which benefit the consumer and then the word of mouth starts and the product that was “good enough” dies.

    Consumers aren’t dumb.

  3. I’m disappointed this thread didn’t receive more attention, especially from veteran Apple consumers. This topic goes a long way in explaining the massive amount of ignorance about Apple, the company, on these boards and others like it.

  4. Our family of 4 has 19 Apple devices collectively:

    3 iMacs (27, 24 & 20), 3 laptops (15, 13, 13), 2 iPads, 10 iPods (1 touch, 3 Classic, 3 nano, 3 shuffle) and 1 Apple TV.

    We started with a used Fat Mac in 1986.

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