iPad to retain dominant role

02 August 2011

NEW YORK: Apple's iPad looks set to remain pre-eminent in the US tablet market going forward, as it leads the field in terms of purchase intent and customer satisfaction.

IHS iSuppli, the research firm, polled 1,404 adults currently owning a slate to discover their perceptions regarding these products.

Participants rated the appliances assessed on a ten-point scale, with a score of five points indicating neutral sentiment, and ten points meaning they were "very likely" to recommend it.

Overall, the iPad and iPad 2 secured an average of 8.8 points, as this pioneering device headed the charts.

More specifically, over 80% of respondents boasting one of these gadgets awarded it a rating topping eight out of ten, while fewer than 1% gave the iPad a total falling below five points.

"We learned that people love using it ... for a whole variety of things," said Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, on a conference call last month.

"And the beauty of the iPad is that if you talk to ten people, they would likely give you ten different reasons why they love it."

"And I think that's the reason it's doing so well among a very diverse group of consumers in a diverse group of people in the market and geographies."

Shenzhen Zenithink Technologies, which makes a range of tablets, actually claimed second position in the IHS iSuppli rankings, on 8.75 points, albeit with a comparatively small sample.

Samsung, manufacturer of the Galaxy Tab, posted an average of 8.5 points, and recently announced it would stop releasing sales figures for slates and smartphones.

"As competition intensifies, there are increased risks that the information we provide may adversely affect our own businesses," Robert Yi, Samsung's chief of investor relations, said.

Archos, which makes the 101 tablet, recorded 8.4 points, an amount matched by Motorola, producer of the XOOM.

"I think there are three things that tablets get used for primarily," said Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola Mobility.

"One is web browsing. Second, content consumption ... of all kinds: video, graphics and digital content of all kinds as well. And, finally, for enterprise purposes.

"And I think we have focused in delivering differentiation in each of these areas."

Elsewhere, ViewSonic registered 8.25 points, Dell logged 7.8 points, HP generated 7.6 points, Coby yielded exactly seven points, and Toshiba received 6.7 points.

The challenges facing organisations attempting to take on Apple were revealed by the fact 79.2% of tablet owners possessed an iPad or iPad 2.

A 61% share of the panel agreed they would stay loyal to the same brand when making their next category purchase.

Similarly, a majority of contributors were actively considering acquiring another tablet during the coming 12 months.

Among this group, more than 50% wanted to buy an iPad or iPad 2, well ahead of the next-best company here, which was Dell, on 11%.

"With the iPad dominating tablet sales in the United States and worldwide, this high level of consumer satisfaction commanded by Apple represents a major barrier to entry for new competitors," Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor and tablet research at IHS, said.

"Owners not only said they would be more likely to recommend the iPad than a competing product, they also indicated that they will look to Apple for future tablet purchases."

Data sourced from IHS iSuppli/Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff