“Cool” Factor of Tablets Not Enough to Create “Tipping Point” for Adoption

Vision Critical, Four-Country, Consumer Survey Uncovers Implications for Growth

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – August 30, 2011 – Tablets have overwhelming awareness ranging from 86-96% (86% in the US; 92% in Canada; 91% in the UK; and 96% in Australia) however this high awareness has not converted to penetration, which only ranges from 3-8% (4% in the US; 4% in Canada; 3% in the UK; and 8% in Australia), the tablet (i.e., Apple iPad, Blackberry Playbook and Samsung Galaxy Tab) “cool” factor is not enough to move from “nice to have” to “need to have” status. A recent four-country survey, conducted by Vision Critical, a global research and technology firm and pioneer in the market intelligence field and (specific to the Australian market) new panel partner Nine Rewards, part of the Nine Entertainment Co, analysed why more people aren’t using tablets and what growth and mindshare opportunities exist within a hungry market with immense irrational loyalty.

“Being cool is just not enough for any of the tablets to revolutionize the mobile device market, as they seem to fill no obvious need,” said Andrew Reid, president, Vision Critical. “This points to a huge opportunity for tablet manufacturers, application developers and solution providers to tap into a waiting market. Consumers need guidance to understand how tablets can be indispensable to their active lives.”

The Vision Critical four-country survey of 5,744 consumers from the US (n=1,011), the UK (n=2,011), Australia (n=1,712) and Canada (n=1010) point to the tablet’s huge popularity among consumers and to the spotty adoption rates. Three brands dominate awareness in the entire tablet category: Apple iPad ranging from 86-96% (86% in the US; 92% in Canada; 91% in the UK; and 96% in Australia); Blackberry Playbook ranging from 47-79% (54% in the US; 79% in Canada; 49% in the UK; and 47% in Australia) and Samsung Galaxy Tab ranging from 33-56% (50% in the US; 33% in Canada; 56% in the UK; and 49% in Australia).

Equally telling, is the “intent to purchase” among survey participants with the iPad enjoying the highest numbers, but well below “early adopter” phenomenon status: Apple iPad ranging from 12-25% (17% in the US; 13% in Canada; 12% in the UK; and 25% in Australia); Blackberry Playbook ranging from 4-8% (8% in the US; 7% in Canada; 4% in the UK; and 8% in Australia); and Samsung Galaxy Tab ranging from 3-13% (7% in the US; 3% in Canada; 6% in the UK; and 13% in Australia).

Yet, even with a demonstrable “intent to purchase” consumers—regardless of country—have significant barriers to purchase a tablet with “I don’t know what to do with the device” as the single largest reason not to purchase. Specifically, 52% of Australians, 65% of Canadians, 57% of Americans and 55% of the British survey participants express no need for a tablet. Among the same group of survey participants, “cost” was second to “need” in every country surveyed; 33% of Australians, 37% of Canadians, 53% of Americans and 47% of the British respondents claimed cost as the second-leading barrier to tablet ownership.

“Australia leads the regions studied in converting iPad awareness to ownership,” said Peter Harris, managing director, Vision Critical Australia and New Zealand. “In Australia, tablets are starting to eat into other mobile communications devices such as smartphones and even laptops in terms of share of device time. Whilst mobile/smart phones in Australia are still receiving a greater share-of-device time than the iPad, the gap is quickly closing.”

With iPad owners using communication features almost as much as internet browsing, (and most using it daily), the iPad appears to be providing Australians with new ways to connect with consumers on the go. Facebook is an extremely popular communication vehicle on the iPad despite not even having an official app available as yet. Communicating on an iPad via Facebook is likely to take over email very quickly. Consumption of print media on the iPad is very strong as four in five Australian iPad owners consume print media on their iPad at least weekly and four in ten access print media daily.

In terms of apps, Australians stand out in having an average of 49 apps on their iPad, more than iPad owners from the US (31), Canada (39) and the UK (34). Despite all the current media attention regarding personal privacy it appears iPad users will give up their privacy for “free”. Free apps outnumber paid apps by more than 2 to 1 and iPad users are willing to put up with ads in exchange for free apps.

About Nine Rewards

Nine Rewards part of the Nine Entertainment Co., manages online panels in Australia and New Zealand to promote products, acquire customers and gather insights. With over 1.4 million permission-based members across Australia and a growing panel in New Zealand, Nine Rewards has large online communities with a unique recruitment source mainly across Nine Entertainment Co. such as Ticketek, Magshop and ninemsn. Follow Nine Rewards on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ninerewards.

About Vision Critical

Vision Critical pairs the world’s leading market research specialists with the most innovative software developers, marrying the speed and power of on-line technology with the precision of market research. Serving over 600 global brands through offices across North America, Europe, Australia and our Global Partner program, Vision Critical creates powerful software and research solutions like Sparq™, the world’s leading community panel platform. Follow Vision Critical on Twitter at http://twitter.com/visioncritical.