Apple iPad a Must-Have Holiday Item for Kids

Apple's iPad is a must-have holiday item for kids, according to a new survey by research firm Nielsen.

Apple's iPad rates high as a must-have item among kids ages 6 to 12, according to a new survey by research firm Nielsen. The tablet PC outranked the Nintendo DS, iPod Touch, Sony PlayStation Portable, and larger gaming systems such as the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii.

"With Black Friday approaching, parents may want to get up early Friday morning to find deals, as a recent survey shows their kids eyeing some wallet-stretching electronics this holiday season," reads a Nov. 22 posting on Nielsen's corporate blog. "This survey suggests the electronics aisle will be heavily traveled this season."

Some 31 percent of kids ages 6 to 12 expressed interest in owning an iPad within the next six months, leading the survey. By comparison, some 29 percent said the same about the iPod Touch. Some 25 percent desired a Nintendo DS.

Among kids 13 and older, some 19 percent expressed interest in buying a smartphone within the next six months, followed by the iPad at 18 percent, a Blu-ray player at 17 percent, an e-reader and Nintendo Wii both at 15 percent, PlayStation 3 at 13 percent, and an iPod Touch at 11 percent.

In terms of other new electronics hitting the market this holiday season, some 14 percent of kids between 6 and 12 expressed interest in Microsoft's Kinect hands-free games controller, outpacing the 8 percent of those aged 13 and older. Microsoft is pouring millions into marketing the Kinect, which it hopes will extend the life of its Xbox 360 franchise.

The iPad currently holds 95.5 percent of the worldwide tablet market, according to recent data from Strategy Analytics. However, the general expectation is that the upcoming slate of tablet competitors will somewhat reduce Apple's market share. Samsung, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Research In Motion, Acer and other manufacturers all have tablets either headed to market or in development.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs used his company's release of its iOS 4.2 update, which brings features such as multitasking to the iPad, to take a swipe at those competitors. "Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit," he wrote in a statement posted on Apple's corporate Website.

The iPad represents a substantial line of business for Apple, selling 4.19 million units in the fiscal 2010 fourth quarter. Bernstein Research analyst Colin McGranahan estimated in October that 2011 iPad revenues would come to $9 billion.