Who’s Getting a Tablet for Christmas?

Alan Bullock
Oct 16, 2012

In April of this year, InfoTrends surveyed more than 1,300 U.S. adult consumers about their use of smartphones, tablets, and Internet-connected television. We found that about 31% of them were using a tablet — more than double the percentage from a similar survey just ten months earlier. We expect the growth of tablets to continue for quite some time, fueled in part by the flood of lower-cost devices recently announced (and rumored to be announced) before the holiday season. In fact, nearly 36% of those not already using a tablet indicated that they thought they would purchase one in less than a year.

Even though they haven’t yet taken the plunge, those non-users are already thinking about what they might do with a tablet if they had one. When presented with a list of more than thirty business, personal, and recreational tablet activities, at least 50% of non-users said they would be interested in nine of those activities, and only six were of interest to less than 20%. Surprisingly, e-mail ranked number one, with web surfing edging out Facebook for second place.

What activities would you be interested in doing with a tablet? (Top five responses)

It’s no surprise that when it’s time to go shopping, the Apple iPad will get a serious look, and more than half of non-users with intent to purchase said that they would consider one. The iPad has dominated tablet sales since its first introduction in 2010, a trend we expect to continue. Second place, however, is clearly up for grabs. Nearly a third would consider “any brand if price/features are right”, with traditional consumer electronics and computing brands rounding out the rest of the top five.

Which brand(s) of tablet would you consider purchasing? (Top five responses)

Of course, since this survey was conducted, a host of new models have hit the market. New and improved versions of the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook tablets, as well as the Google Nexus 7, manufactured by Asus, have filled the $199-$299 price segment with some very capable tablets. Later this month, Apple is expected to introduce a 7-inch iPad mini. Pricing is anyone’s guess; mine is that it will be in the $299-$349 range for Wi-Fi only, and probably $100 more for 3G/4G, if available at all. October 26 will bring the official release of the Windows 8 operating system for computers, phones, and tablets, including Microsoft’s own Surface tablets. Gift-giving (and receiving) consumers will have no shortage of excellent tablet choices this holiday season.

My hope is that Windows 8 tablets will be priced competitively, if not aggressively. I believe Microsoft has a chance to establish Windows 8 as a soup-to-nuts platform for home, business, mobile, and entertainment computing. Priced right (and, by the way, working right, too), it may give consumers an alternative to Apple’s well-established ecosystem. But there is little room for error.

(Update: Surface tablets can now be pre-ordered from Microsoft. Prices start at $499 for 32GB Wi-Fi, $100 less than the 32GB Wi-Fi iPad. Nice opening round, Redmond.)


For more information, see the full report, Smartphones, Tablets, and Connected TVs: Changing the Digital Imaging Landscape, an analysis of findings from InfoTrends’ 2012 U.S. Connected Devices End-User Survey.

InfoTrends’ Connected Imaging Trends (CIT) Service covers devices, services, and technologies that enable consumers to view, share, store, and protect their photos and videos, virtually any time and from anywhere. Clients benefit from extensive consumer research, vendor/technology profiles, analysis of industry developments, and forecasts that guide their participation in this market. For more information, please visit our CIT web page or contact Matt O’Keefe (+1 781 616 2115 or matt_okeefe@infotrends.com).

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