A May ChangeWave survey of 2,893 consumers took a close-up look at North American tablet demand, and finds the Apple iPad continuing to dominate consumer buying plans going forward.
ChangeWave’s previous two surveys forecasted huge jumps in consumer tablet demand – November’s due to the holiday spending season followed by a March 2012 leap caused by the new iPad release. In the aftermath, the May survey shows overall tablet demand has returned to more normal levels, with 7% of respondents saying they plan on buying a tablet in the next 90 days.
But when it comes to consumer demand for individual manufacturers, 73% of planned tablet buyers are still reporting they’ll purchase an iPad. And while that’s down a bit from the extraordinary demand levels seen at the time of the March new iPad launch, it’s a clear sign that Apple’s massive domination of the market is continuing going forward.
A key finding here is the diminishing strength of Amazon within the tablet market. By the time of ChangeWave’s March 2012 survey – with the new Apple iPad launch stealing the momentum – demand for the tiny screen Kindle Fire tumbled. As the following charts shows, it’s been more than two months since the new iPad release and Amazon is still floundering at nowhere near the levels reached at the time of its initial launch.
Planned buying of Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire is now down two-thirds since November 2011, and a clue to Amazon’s problem can be seen in the tablet satisfaction ratings of its owners.
Note that in previous ChangeWave surveys we’ve found that the percentage of tablet owners who say they are Very Satisfied with a particular device is highly predictive of future demand.
And while Apple sets the bar with 4-in-5 new iPad owners (81%) saying they’re Very Satisfied with their device, Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire trails well behind with only a 41% Very Satisfied rating.
Importantly, Amazon’s Very Satisfied rating has declined by 15-percentage points since our February 2012 ChangeWave survey.
Here are the complete ChangeWave satisfaction ratings, including the percentage of tablet owners reporting they are Somewhat Satisfied and Somewhat/Very Unsatisfied.
A second potential threat to the Amazon Kindle Fire and the other second tier tablet manufacturers is the possibility of Apple releasing a smaller 7-inch version of the iPad this fall. Such a new “iPad mini” would likely have the same features as the current iPad but with a smaller screen. If released, most analysts expect it would cost $299 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model – only $100 more than the Kindle Fire. To measure consumer interest in such a device, we presented respondents with a likely description of the iPad mini and asked:
Some analysts think Apple may release a smaller 7-inch version of the iPad this fall. This new “iPad mini” would likely have the same features of the current iPad (i.e., A5X processor, Retina display, 5MP camera) but with a smaller screen. The “iPad Mini” is expected to cost $299 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model. How likely is it that you will buy an Apple “iPad mini” for yourself or someone else (e.g., a family member) if-and-when it becomes available?
A total of 3% of consumers say they’re Very Likely and 14% Somewhat Likely to buy an iPad-Mini if-and-when it were to become available – highly encouraging numbers for Apple and a further worrisome finding for the other manufacturers.
“At the moment, the greatest competitive threat to the new iPad could well be the iPad mini – which doesn’t exist yet, but even if it ever does, it too will be made by Apple,” says Dr. Paul Carton, ChangeWave’s Vice President of Research, in a statement. “When it comes to tablets, the ChangeWave survey shows Apple continuing to exert near total control over the market.”
The complete ChangeWave report is available here.
MacDailyNews Take: Bloodbath.
tablets. Let’s call it what it really is: The iPad market. – MacDailyNews Take, July 21, 2011