Why does the iPad dominate the tablet market? New research from comScore offers some not-so-surprising hints.
According to comScore, selection of apps and price of tablet led as the most important factors. The brand name of tablet and tablet operating system followed as the next most important factors. Finally, music and video capabilities ranked fifth in purchase consideration.
What's more, comScore's comparative look at the purchase consideration factors for iPad and Kindle Fire owners found significant differences between what these consumers deemed important. For example, iPad owners found selection of apps most important in their purchase decision, closely followed by brand name of tablet.
On the other hand, Kindle Fire owners placed the greatest weight on price of tablet, followed by selection of apps. Brand name of tablet and operating system were both scored as less important among Kindle Fire owners than among iPad owners.
Room for Microsoft Surface?
In a finding that comScore noted as somewhat surprising, consumers did not place strong importance on having the same operating system across their tablet and smartphone. This tablet selection factor fell outside of the top five consideration for iPad, Kindle Fire and the average tablet owner.
ComScore said this finding highlights the potential for brands such as Microsoft, with its recently announced Surface tablet, to see consumer adoption in the tablet market even though they might lack strong penetration in the smartphone market.
"Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets aren't on the market yet so it's hard to gauge if they will be successful," said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis. "But if they are successful, that will broaden the market further towards laptop replacements and even more heavily skewed toward productivity. The iPad is definitely making inroads into productivity but the Surface could push that further."
iPad Wins Again
In another comScore finding, device satisfaction is an important measure in understanding sentiment post-purchase, especially with consumers having a growing number of tablet options available to them.
Overall, tablet owners are highly satisfied with their devices. Specifically, iPad owners experienced the highest level of satisfaction, followed closely by Kindle Fire owners. Android tablet users -- excluding Kindle Fire -- had a slightly lower satisfaction rating of 8.2, but which was still very strong in absolute terms.
"It will be very interesting to see what happens this fall with the Nexus 7 on the market and potentially an iPad mini in the 7- to 8-inch form factor range, should that rumor be realized," Greengart told us. "We could see a new tablet consumer who is looking more for portability. We'll see if Apple broadens its lineup. I would expect it to do extraordinarily well expanding that segment."
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