the Boston Consulting Group survey
The iPad 2 goes on sale this Friday. It’s faster than the original iPad–as well as sleeker and lighter. It comes equipped cameras and is available in two colors. A recently-released internet survey of over 14,000 respondents done by the Boston Consulting Group last December suggests that iPad 2 will be a much bigger success than its predecessor. This survey follows up on a previous one done in March 2010, just before the launch of the first iPad.
The main conclusions of the December 2010 survey, with is actually about both tablets and e-readers, are:
1. Awareness of this category of devices is growing. In the US, for example, 67% of respondents to the survey knew about tablets and e-readers. That’s up from 54% in the December poll (I wonder where the other 33% live).
2. Lots more people intend to buy one. Globally, 69% of respondents who are familiar with tablets and e-readers intend to buy one in the next three years. That’s slightly smaller percentage than the 73% of people from the March survey. Given that awareness has increased so much, though, the pool of potential buyers is still much deeper than it was a year ago. Applying the figures to the US, for example, suggests that 17% more Americans want to buy a device now than a year ago. Half plan to pull the trigger in the next 12 months.
3. Consumers want tablets, not e-readers. The margin is 3.5/1 in favor of tablets.
4. The market understands what these devices do. Respondents said they wanted to use the devices to browse online (85%), read email (84%) and view videos (69%).
5. People are willing to pay for content…
(Note: my experience is that people aren’t crazy. They flat-out lie to surveyors about the prices they’d be willing to pay for stuff. They regard money questions as part of a price negotiation and give low-ball numbers. Wouldn’t you? So I regard the content responses as very encouraging.)
US respondents said they’d pay $5-$10 for a digital book, $3-$6 per month for a digital magazine subscription and $5-$10 a month for a daily newspaper. These are roughly the same numbers people gave last March. The figure that jumps out to me as especially high is the magazine one.
6. …but not for the device itself. Respondents from the US say they’d pay $130 for an e-reader (which they don’t particularly want), but only about $200 for a tablet (which they do). See my note to point 5.
All in all, the picture looks very good for AAPL.
BCG had 14,314 respondents from 16 countries: Australia, Austria, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and the US. Each provided at least 700 respondents, split equally between male and female. All were internet users (duh!), and read print books or periodicals. In Australia, South Korea and China, respondents tended to be clustered around cities; elsewhere they were distributed proportionally in urban and rural areas.
The big advantages of internet surveys is that they’re fast, cheap and can reach lots of people. The main worry is that the techniques used in traditional surveying to figure out whether respondents really mirror the population you want to find out about don’t work. See my post on internet surveying for more details.