Apps, price key to US tablet purchases

08 August 2012

NEW YORK: Consumers buying tablets in the US typically prioritise the apps on offer, price and the brand in question when making their decisions, according to a report.

Based on three-month rolling data drawn from 6,000 people who own these devices, comScore, the insights provider, found the selection of apps available was the main consideration factor for 7.7% of the panel.

Price recorded the same total here, while the brand posted 7.5%, as did the operating system (OS) utilised. Music and video capabilities logged 7.5%, recommendations from friends received 6.5% and social networking features registered 6.2%.

Among users of Apple's iPad, 8.1% agreed its wide range of apps were the central driver of their choice, with the brand on 8% and OS on 7.5%. Price took the lead role for Amazon's Kindle Fire on 8.2%, beating apps on 7.5% and the brand on 7.4%.

Cost was also the primary issue for alternatives powered by Google's Android operating system, yielding 7.9%, with the OS on 7.4%, apps on 7.3% and the brand on 7%.

Rating the tablet they owned on a ten-point scale, users delivered an average satisfaction score of 8.6 points, versus 8.1 points for smartphones. The iPad audience posted 8.8 points, bettering 8.7 points for the Kindle Fire and 8.2 points for Android tablets.

"Device satisfaction is an important measure in understanding sentiment post-purchase, especially with consumers having a growing number of tablet options available to them," the study said.

Another trend outlined in the report was that just 6.5% of interviewees regarded the fact a tablet had the same operating system as their phone as a major influence on buying decisions.

"This finding highlights the potential for brands, such as Microsoft with its recently announced Surface Tablet, to see consumer adoption in the tablet market even though they might lack strong penetration in the smartphone market," it said.

Elsewhere, the analysis revealed ownership rates across all devices are split evenly between men and women.

However, the iPad user base is 52.9% male and the Kindle Fire audience is 56.6% female. The gap is smaller for Android gadgets, with a 50.9% male skew.

By age group, uptake is highest among 25–34 year olds on 24.2%, ahead of 35–44 year olds on 20.6%. This contrasts with lows of 7.6% for over 65 year olds, and 4.7% for 13–17 year olds.

In terms of household income, tablet penetration peaked at 38.4% where earnings stood at over $100k per year, falling to 7.8% in households earning less than $25,000 per year.

Data sourced from comScore; additional content by Warc staff