Philip Elmer-DeWitt reported on the Fortune blog about data released suggesting the potential impact of the Kindle Fire on iPad sales. The data originated from ChangeWave and points out several key findings from their survey of “early adopter types.”
I have to question the FUD this data is causing for a number of reasons. First of all the survey was conducted with early adopters (early adopter types actually whatever that is). Early adopters are not the mass market and nor do they represent the mass market. Early adopters shop for technology with a very different mindset than mass market consumers. Because of that it is hard to use data only taken by early adopters.
Taking the data one step further only 5% surveyed said they pre-ordered or were likely to buy the Kindle Fire. If we do the math, 5% of the 2,600 early adopters types they surveyed means 130 people out of 2,600 said they pre-ordered or were very likely to buy the Kindle Fire. Keep in mind these are early adopters and I’m guessing most if not all of those 2,600 surveyed owned iPads.
Now 26% of the 130 (5%) said they would delay or put on hold the purchase of a NEW iPad. That means 33.8 people of the 2,600 early adopters surveyed said they would delay or put on hold the purchase of a NEW iPad. When we look at the data under that lens the headlines becomes less ominous for the iPad.
Now I do expect both the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet to do well. However, the fundamental difference is that those two products are competing with each other rather than with the iPad.
Brooke Crothers at CNET provided research from eDataSource that stated preorders of the Kindle Fire were tracking to exceed one million. I have seen a number of credible reports forecasting Amazon to sell 4 million Fire tablets during the quarter. Most recently the DigiTimes today reported that Amazon has upped their orders to 5 Million due to demand.
Both those numbers are plausible but the point needs to be made that those customers are either early adopters or customers who were in the market for a Kindle in the first place. I have a hard time believing that mainstream consumers (not early adopters) who were strongly considering an iPad have changed their mind and now going with the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet.
IDC’s forecasts for readers in 2011 are 16.2 million, I actually believe that is low, this category is still hot with a lot of consumers. My point, however, is that those consumers in the market for ereaders like the Kindle and the Nook are not in the market for iPad’s, yet at least.
I’ll end my take on this data with this. Brooke also quoted a separate report today from Rodman & Renshaw’s Ashok Kumar claiming that iPad momentum is slowing. Asok stated:
“Our checks indicate that production volumes have been scaled back due to moderating sell-through. We estimate that iPad volumes in the current quarter will be 12-13 million units, down from previous estimates of 14-15 million.”
I think he is wrong but even if he isn’t that would still be more iPads in a quarter than Apple has sold before still putting them over 30 million iPad’s sold in calendar, not fiscal, 2011. That’s still a lot of iPads.