New Survey: Tablet Wars – Apple iPad vs. the Competition

Since its initial release, the Apple iPad has been the de facto standard by which competing tablets are measured. But with the release of the iPad 2 just around the corner, can new tablets from Motorola, Research in Motion and a host of others successfully launch and compete?

During February, ChangeWave surveyed 3,091 consumers on tablet demand and future buying trends – including customer satisfaction, tablet cannibalization of other electronic devices, and consumer preference for wireless tablet services. The survey was completed just before Apple’s iPad 2 announcement.

Tablet Demand Going Forward

Future tablet demand remains extraordinarily high among consumers – with better than one-in-four respondents (27%) saying they plan on buying a tablet device in the future. That’s 2-pts higher than in a previous ChangeWave survey in November.

Focusing on just the next 90 days, 5% of respondents say they’ll be purchasing a tablet within this time frame.

Once again Apple remains the overwhelming winner among planned buyers, with 82% of future tablet buyers saying they’ll be purchasing an iPad.

Neither the Motorola Xoom (4%) – which hadn’t been released yet at the time of the survey – nor the soon-to-be-released RIM/BlackBerry PlayBook (3%) have so far had a significant impact on iPad demand.

Similarly, the Samsung Galaxy Tab (3%) has done little to date to slow the iPad’s momentum.

It remains to be seen which of these tablet devices or other new entries in the market will be able to successfully compete. Each faces an uphill battle with the refreshed iPad 2 hitting the shelves on March 11. The survey results provide further insight into what they’re up against.

Importantly, the iPad’s satisfaction rating remains outstanding among owners – with 70% saying they’re Very Satisfied and 25% Somewhat Satisfied with the Apple tablet device.

*Note: 2% of iPad owners selected Don’t Know/NA

Tablet Cannibalization. To better understand the threat tablets pose to other electronic devices, we asked current Tablet owners whether there were any other products that they had originally planned on buying but had put on hold or canceled in order to purchase a tablet.

Looking at the following list of products, are there any that you had previously planned on buying but have put on hold or canceled because you purchased a new tablet device? (Check All That Apply)

According to the survey findings, the two product lines most vulnerable to the tablet onslaught are eReaders and Laptops.

A total of 17% of tablet owners say they’ve put off buying an Amazon Kindle because they purchased a tablet. Another 9% have put off buying some other eReading device.

The second most affected category is Laptops (11%), followed by Netbooks (10%).

Wireless Services and the iPad

Now that Verizon and AT&T are both offering wireless services for the iPad, where do future buyers plan to purchase the Apple tablet and which service will they be using?

In a major finding, 17% of planned buyers say they’ll purchase their iPad and get their wireless service directly from Verizon – 2-pts higher than in our November survey. That’s a significant achievement, considering Verizon has only been selling the iPad for 4 months. Moreover, beginning March 11th Verizon is offering the iPad 2 with a built-in 3G wireless chip, so new subscribers will no longer need to carry a MiFi mobile hotspot device.

Which best describes where you’ll buy your iPad and what wireless service you plan on using?

In comparison, 24% of planned iPad purchasers say they’ll be using AT&T as their wireless service provider. This includes 16% who will buy their iPad directly from Apple, 4% from Best Buy/ Wal-Mart/Target, and just 4% who will be buying it directly from AT&T.

All told, these findings represent a 3-pt decline for AT&T since our November survey.

The complete ChangeWave report is available here.

Report details include:

• Current and future demand trends for overall tablet market and Apple iPad
• Market share competition between iPad, Motorola Xoom, Research in Motion PlayBook, and Samsung Galaxy Tab, among others
• Cannibalization of other products due to Tablet momentum
• iPad Satisfaction Ratings
• Preferred wireless providers among future iPad buyers – Verizon vs. AT&T

The report also takes a close-up look at the eReader market, including the competition between the Kindle, iPad and Nook:

• Current and future eReader demand trends – iPad vs. Amazon Kindle vs. Barnes and Noble Nook
• eReader Satisfaction Ratings
• Battle between Online Bookstores: Kindle Bookstore, iBookstore, and Barnes and Noble
• Most important eReader features
• Types of content being read on Kindle vs. iPad
• Demand for The Daily iPad-only newspaper

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