Apple’s massive domination of tablet market unabated as Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire demand tumbles

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.

ChangeWave: Tablet Planned Purchases Next 90 Days, North America, May 2012

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.

ChangeWave: Future Tablet Demand: Amazon's Tiny Screen Kindle Fire, May 2012

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.

ChangeWave: iPad vs. other tablets satisfaction ratings, May 2012

Here are the complete ChangeWave satisfaction ratings, including the percentage of tablet owners reporting they are Somewhat Satisfied and Somewhat/Very Unsatisfied.

Overall, how satisfied are you with your tablet device?
ChangeWave, May 2012: Overall, how satisfied are you with your tablet device?

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?

ChangeWave, May 2012: Likelihood of buying Apple "iPad min"

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.

Scratch tablets. Let’s call it what it really is: The iPad market.MacDailyNews Take, July 21, 2011


  1. I dOnt see all this bs about the iPad mini the size would be akward, too big to wrap your hand around and too small to cradle in your arm to use on the move. Apple doesn’t join markets they create them

    1. I respectfully disagree. I think a 7.85″ iPod super touch would be fine, particularly for K-12 students with smaller hands and better eyesight. A 1024×768 display would be “retina” level at 7.85″. I don’t think Steve had a prototype 7.85″ display at “retina” level.

  2. In what bizarro world does a 3% “Very Likely” sales projection equate to “highly encouraging numbers”?
    Apple’d lose their collective azz’z building an miniPad with a number like that!

  3. I guess there were just a handful of opportunistic cheapskates during the Christmas season. Still, I thought there’d be quite a bit more, so the Kindle Fire must have really been a crappy tablet plus being locked entirely into the Amazon ecosystem. The analysts who were predicting the Kindle Fire to destroy iPad sales were likely trying to manipulate either Apple’s or Amazon’s stock price.

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