iPad Retina Display Key to Consumer Demand: Baird

The high-resolution Retina display, a key feature of Apple's latest iPad, is driving consumer demand for the tablet, according to a survey from Baird.

Prospective buyers of Apple€™s latest iPad tablet are mainly interested in the high-resolution Retina display that is new to the device, according to a survey from Robert W. Baird & Co.

According to the results of the online survey, 24 percent of U.S. respondents plan to purchase the new iPad in the next three months, with 29 percent of international respondents planning to purchase it. When asked about reasons for purchasing the new iPad, 28 percent cited the Retina display as the top reason, followed by the A5X processor at 26 percent and Long-Term Evolution (LTE) wireless capability at 17 percent.

Among existing iPad owners, 48 percent said they plan to purchase the new iPad, with 35 percent of those already owning an iPad 2. The Baird survey also indicated consumers new to the tablet market are flocking to Apple: 42 percent of those planning to purchase the new iPad have never owned an iPad or other tablet. The previous version of Apple€™s tablet is still in high demand, with 15 percent of respondents planning to purchase the discounted iPad 2, the equity research firm found.

More than a quarter (28 percent) of respondents suggested they were purchasing an iPad instead of a laptop, though close to 50 percent overall suggested the iPad purchase wouldn't delay other electronic purchases.

The biggest reason for not buying an iPad was its high price€”cited by 60 percent of nonbuyers. €œWe think that this could speak to an opportunity for Apple to introduce a lower-priced 7-inch tablet,€ the report noted.

The second and fourth cited reasons for not buying a new iPad were that customers didn€™t perceive a need for an iPad because they already own a laptop and smartphone, respectively.

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they plan to purchase an LTE-enabled version, with previous industry estimates suggesting 80 percent or more of iPad sales have been WiFi-only. In addition, a majority of the respondents claim they plan to use the cellular connectivity daily.

Though 81 percent of respondents claimed to understand 4G, only 41 percent claimed to understand LTE, with actual results much lower. In addition, 78 percent of 4G iPad buyers said that they plan to use the service daily, 13 percent said that they plan to use it weekly, 4 percent said at least monthly, and another 4 percent said at least once per year. One percent said that they plan to use 4G service infrequently, or less than once per year.

Slightly under half (48 percent) of the survey€™s U.S. respondents said that the currently own a tablet. The iPad 2 was the most commonly owned device, followed by the Amazon Kindle Fire and the original iPad. Google Android-based tablets (excluding the Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook) had a 5 percent share. The international sample was somewhat less penetrated, and had no HP TouchPad or Nook representation.

A quarter of the 59 Kindle Fire owners Baird surveyed said that they plan to purchase an iPad in the next three months. The report noted that the Kindle Fire was released in mid-November, marking a €œfairly quick€ turnaround.

Though perhaps not a surprise, iPhone owners disproportionately said that they plan to buy the new iPad. BlackBerry owners were also disproportionately represented, which the report attributed to higher income levels and corporate iPad adoption. Seventy-eight percent of the U.S. sample said they own a smartphone. Android had a 39 percent share among respondents, with Apple€™s iOS at 32 percent.