What’s Better Than an iPad? A Free iPad. And Possibly Other Tablets, Too.

About a month ago, I scored the chance to win an iPad 2 at a Web Analytics Wednesday in Boston.  [The event, sponsored by Acronym Media, also included a brief presentation, a chance to mingle with others in the business, and free food and beer.]  To be eligible to win the iPad 2, audience members only had to drop their business cards into a bucket and stay for the entire presentation.  I have a tendency to irrationally calculate my chances at winning raffles and lotteries, so I sat comfortably through the presentation with serene confidence that my card was the luckiest in the bucket.

Here’s a question:  If Acronym Media offered another competing tablet, or a netbook, instead of an iPad 2, would as many people have stayed in their audience?  Did Acronym Media even consider such an option?

If you have any interest in tablets, then you probably already knew that the iPad is more popular than its competitors; but you may not have known to what extent that’s true.  I recently conducted a brief investigation into the shopping habits of people in the tablet market.  Specifically, I looked at people who searched for brand names (ipad, ipad2, playbook, bb play book, etc.) as well as people who visited manufacturer, retail, and wireless carrier pages for the Chromebook, Blackberry Playbook, Samsung Galaxy, and iPad.  I used these actions as a proxy for shopping for these products.

For the purposes of this study, I define a “researcher” as a user who either searched for a branded term or visited a product site.  I define a “cross-researcher” as a user who searched for or viewed pages for multiple brands under study in the same month.

I found that very few people who search for tablets compare more than one brand.  On average, for the months under study, cross-researchers accounted for only 4% of our sample.

The lack of cross-research among tablets is probably due to strong loyalty to the iPad brand.  In the period from February to July of this year, users in our sample who researched Google Chromebooks, Samsung Galaxies, or Blackberry Playbooks were, on average, more than six times more likely to compare those products to another of the products under study than iPad researchers.  In fact, of our sample, only 4.7% of iPad researchers looked at a product page or searched for any of the three competing products under study.

However, in May, Apple lost some market share to Blackberry.  21% of people who fit our criteria in May were searching for Blackberry Playbook or looking at a Playbook product page.  That’s a jump of more than 12 percentage points from the previous month.  This is probably due to the release of the Blackberry Playbook on April 19.  The spike in interest in Playbooks petered out quickly, though.  By June, patterns of interest among these brands were similar to those recorded in February and March.

My study shows that there is a tough battle ahead for companies that want to compete against Apple in the tablet market.  Internet consumers are not comparing products and finding that the technologies offered by competitor companies do not meet their needs.  Rather, Compete’s data suggest that the iPad is the only tablet on the average internet consumer’s mind.  Competing companies must invest heavily in advertising and marketing if they even want to come into consideration.

At the end of the presentation came the big drawing, and guess what!?  I lost.  Next time I’m putting more business cards in the bucket.

What about you?  Do you have a tablet?  Want one?  If so, which one, and why?  Do you think that Apple’s tablet technology is actually superior to its competitors, or do you think that consumers overpay for the Apple brand?

About Jody Schechter:
As an Analyst for Compete, Jody manipulates data to address the information needs of our Online Media and Search clients. Outside of work, her interests include arts and crafts, developmental economics, Scrabble, and dance. Jody has a Bachelor of Science in Economics, with minors in Mathematics and International Studies, from the University of Michigan.

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  1. Mr. Yap

    I am currently in the market for a Tablet and iPad is first tablet on my mind.

    I am getting call from clients who want to make sure their website (part of their website are in Flash) can work on the iPad

    Need to “test” it on the real devices and not emulator

    I did research on Galaxy Tab too and other alternatives as I felt the price for iPad 2 is too steep for my pockets.

    Btw, is compete.com going to give any iPad away? :)

    Reply

  2. Thegrantwriter

    I researched the other tablets on the market- went to the stores touched them, got a feel for them and decided that it was time to turn over all the cash in my pocket to Apple. Their product is the best made. Not only is it the best technologically speaking it can take a few falls along the way. Thank god after dropping mine onto the sidewalk once and off the side of the bed once it still works perfectly and you would never know ut took a spill. Thank you Apple!

    Reply

  3. hkjax

    Look how smart this Jody is

    Reply

  4. Rhonda Rice

    Right now there is a simple answer for this [in my personal choice]. I have an MacBook, iPhone, iPad and plenty of apps to boot. My tablet consideration is tied to my investment in the Apple ecosystem. Especially with apps that synch across devices and universal apps. I might also add I have a household investment – two teenage sons who equally have the same Apple 3-pack as I call it.

    It would be difficult, [not saying impossible] for another brand to sway me towards their tablet – this being the primary reason. I won’t even throw carriers in there because I always remain free of carriers. I don’t have AT&T and never will, but for others, this may also be a factor.

    I can and do appreciate some value-adds of other brands. But I’m certain that consumer also think a step beyond simply the devices and many have strong brand or platform affinities.

    Reply