May 18, 2010

Consumers Ready To Latch On To Tablet Trend

According to a new survey, consumers around the world are interested in tablet computers like Apple's iPad and electronic readers like Amazon's Kindle, and sales of the devices could take off when prices drop.

John Rose of The Boston Consulting Group, which conducted the survey, told AFP "I think we're already at the starting point of mass adoption."

"A million iPads in a month is a lot," Rose said, referring to Apple's first month sales figures for the touchscreen device. He added that other companies like Sony, Samsung and Google were expected to come out with similar products.

Fifty-one percent of the consumers polled who were familiar with e-readers or tablet computers said they planned to purchase one within a year, while 73 percent said they planned to buy one within three years.

"The survey suggests that e-readers and tablets are not a niche product for early adopters but could become the MP3 players of this decade," Rose said separately in a press release. "Grandmothers will soon be carrying them around."

The survey showed prices would need to drop in order for the devices to become established consumer products alongside television sets, personal computers and mobile phones.

"As with other major mass market consumer devices the prices will come down," Rose told AFP. "They always do.

"I expect you'll see the prices come down in the next 12 to 18 months," he said. "The first iPod was a 400-dollar device so there's no reason why we won't see the same cycle."

U.S. consumers said they were prepared to pay between $100 and $150 for a single-usage device like the Kindle and between $130 and $200 for a multi-purpose device like the iPad.

The Kindle, which was launched in 2007, costs $259, and the iPad costs between $499 and $829.

The survey found that most consumers prefer a multi-purpose device.  Of the people surveyed, 66 percent said they preferred a multi-purpose device while 24 percent said they wanted a single-purpose device for reading electronic books.  The remaining were undecided.

"Consumers want to use these devices for a broad range of things, including Web surfing and email," Rose told AFP. "These are easy and portable devices that'll make it easy to do such things."

Consumers in the U.S. were willing to pay between $5 and $10 for digital books, $5 to $10 for a monthly newspaper subscription and between $2 and $4 for a single issue of an online magazine.

The BCG survey studied 12,717 consumers throughout Australia, Austria, Britain, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Spain and the United States.


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