Apple iPad is Most Cannibalizing e-Reader, Laptop Sales: ChangeWave

A new report on how Apple iPad sales are affecting the tech industry showed e-reader and laptop sales to be most affected, and consumer interest in tablets to be on the rise.

As the Apple iPad 2 launches, a new survey reveals that the tablet that reinvigorated the market is still very much its leader (despite a small dip in market share), while continuing to grow consumer interest in the form factor and stealing share from other segments, particularly e-readers and laptops.

According to a March 10 report from ChangeWave, which in February surveyed 3,000-plus consumers on their tech-buying intentions, 27 percent of respondents said they planned to buy a tablet in the future-which was up 2 percentage points since a similar survey in November 2010. When asked which tablet they planned to buy, the answer was overwhelmingly the Apple iPad, which garnered 82 percent of the response.

Following Apple CEO Steve Jobs' introduction of the iPad 2 March 2, analyst Jack Gold, with J. Gold Associates, wrote in a research note (echoing a popular analyst sentiment) that he didn't see it as "heads above the competition-especially the [Motorola] Xoom-right now." The Motorola tablet, however, captured just 4 percent of the vote in the ChangeWave study, followed by the upcoming PlayBook from BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Samsung Galaxy Tab, which received 3 percent apiece.

"Importantly, the iPad's satisfaction rating remains outstanding among owners-with 70 percent saying they're Very Satisfied and 25 percent Somewhat Satisfied with the Apple tablet device," stated the report.

Of those who plan to buy a tablet, 24 percent plan to purchase one on the AT&T network, while 16 percent said via Apple, and 4 percent from Best Buy, Wal-Mart or Target stores, and another 4 percent from AT&T Wireless directly. Another 17 percent said they plan to buy an iPad 2 through Verizon Wireless, while a total of 28 percent expect to buy a WiFi-only model, with 19 percent shopping at an Apple store and 9 percent buying from one of the three big-box stores.

While those figures appear to be a win for AT&T, the findings represent a 3 percent decline from ChangeWave's November survey.

To better understand the threat that tablet purchases represent to other segments, ChangeWave "asked current tablet owners whether there were any other products that they had originally planned on buying but had put on hold or canceled in order to purchase a tablet." While desktops, netbooks, laptops and e-readers were all named by those polled, the greatest increase in responses between ChangeWave's November and February polls were for the Amazon Kindle e-reader, which was named by 12 percent of respondents in November but 17 percent in February.

"A total of 17 percent of tablet owners say they've put off buying an Amazon Kindle because they purchased a tablet. Another 9 percent have put off buying some other e-reading device," states the report. "The second-most affected category is laptops (11 percent), followed by netbooks (10 percent)."

iPad sales are additionally affecting the long-time rivalries between PC makers. During the fourth quarter of 2010, Dell managed to grab back the No. 2 global PC market share position from Acer, which saw its consumer netbook and notebook sales decline.

"Acer's decline was spurred by rising competition for its consumer-focused notebook computers from the iPad and other media tablets," IHS iSuppli wrote in a March 10 report. While strong netbook sales in 2009 had boosted Acer ahead of Dell, "in light of growing competition from media tablets," wrote the firm, "Acer's gains have been reversed."