Tis’ the Season of the iPad

Nielsen released the findings of a U.S. Survey where they were hoping to discern what electronics products will be hot for the 2011 holidays. Among kids, not terribly surprising, was the iPad atop the list for kids aged 6-12 ranking an all time high with 44% naming the iPad as their most desired product for holiday 2011. To quote the Nielsen study:

Consistent with U.S. kids’ 2010 wish lists, the Apple iPad is the most desired consumer electronic among kids ages 6-12 for holiday 2011. In fact, the iPad increases its stronghold, with nearly half (44%) of kids expressing interest in the product, up from 31 percent in 2010. Two other popular Apple devices – iPod Touch (30%) and iPhone (27%) – round out kids’ top three, with computers and other tablet brands each appealing to a quarter of younger consumers.

I would like to point out how significant the reality is that our kids are growing up using tablets and more importantly touch computing platforms. This fundamentally sets the stage for the massive shift in computing we are anticipating over the next 5+ years.

What is interesting as well in this category is that Apple owns the top three categories in this age group, a significant change over the same survey last year. Again young US consumers, and I would argue in other parts of the world as well, Apple is gaining as a desired brand. I’ve stated how important brand is to the long term life of a customer more then a few times and the significance of this for Apple can not be overlooked by competitors.

Also and perhaps the most significant statistic in this age group is how the desire for a computer has moved down. More on that shortly.

Looking at the 13 years and older demographic Nielsen found:

Among consumers ages 13 and older, appeal for the iPad (24%) has also broadened relative to last year (18%), and exceeds that of computers (18%), 2010’s top item. Further, it appears the iPad has successfully paved the way for other tablet offerings, as a notable 17 percent of adults/teens also express interest in non-Apple tablets.

What is surprising is that for the first time in this US demographic the iPad has overtaken the computer as the most desired holiday item. I know there is a hot debate about whether the iPad, or tablets in general, are the computers of the future. I tend to believe they are but regardless of who is right, for the time being, the iPad is a more desired product than PCs. Again that may not always be the case but the reality is that it is right now.

This is significant because I believe that tablets will extend the life of notebooks in consumers lives giving them less of a reason to urgently upgrade older notebook technology. This is significant because if I am right it will throw off the anticipated refresh rate of notebooks and desktops in consumer markets.

From an industry standpoint the tough reality many have to start thinking about is the very real possibility that tablets may very well be replacing notebooks.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

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