451 Alliance Report

Seasonal Uptick in Consumer Tablet Purchasing

November 21, 2018

Consumer spending on tablets is experiencing a seasonal uptick, as 451 Research’s latest tablet-buying survey shows consumers gearing up for the holidays. Apple not only dominates in current ownership and planned buying, but also has significantly higher top box customer satisfaction than the rest of the competition.

The PC market is dominated by Apple, Dell and HP in a three-horse race capturing the majority of the market. Looking at intent to buy, Apple, HP and Dell are also the top manufacturers of choice.

Completed in August 2018, the survey polled 1,523 primarily North American respondents from 451 Research’s Leading Indicator panel.

451 Take

The consumer tablet market has developed a cyclical pattern of buying intentions and this year appears to be no different. Our current survey is right on track with a seasonal uptick that usually precedes the start of the holiday rush. The biggest beneficiary of this uptick is of course Apple, which is experiencing a big jump in demand ahead of the holidays.

Additionally, in the last few years, hardware and software have reached a point where tablets are more powerful and can tackle more robust applications, while also providing the kind of experience Apple users have come to appreciate and expect. This is relevant to segments of the market – such as creatives – that require specific tools like what the iPad Pro could offer.

An example of this potential is a recent partnership between Adobe and Apple. Adobe is creating new applications that target hobbyists, who prefer working on mobile devices rather than PCs. These applications will push forward not only upgrade cycles, but also bring in new users that are looking for more portable and easy to use options for complex computing than they currently use.

On the PC buying front, fluctuations in demand for both laptops and desktops remain in relatively tight ranges, although we are seeing a seasonal increase for laptops. Apple is also the top beneficiary in both laptop and desktop demand.

Key Takeaways

Consumer Tablets:

6.8% of respondents plan to purchase a tablet in the next 6 months, up 1 point for our May reading. There has also been a slight year-over-year uptick in respondents who plan to purchase a tablet.

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Apple continues to be the tablet manufacturer of choice among future purchasers, with over 70% of respondents planning to buy an iPad. Microsoft (8%) and Samsung (5%) continue to be distant second and third as preferred manufacturers for future buyers.

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Apple also leads in satisfaction among current iPad owners, with more than 9 out of 10 respondents (94.2%) reporting that they are either very or somewhat satisfied with their iPads.

Half (50.1%) of current tablet owners purchased their tablets more than 2 years ago.

28.8% of current tablet owners purchased their device directly from the manufacturer. The next most used purchase channel was online retailer (18.4%).

Consumer PCs:

There has been a 1.3-point increase in respondents who plan to purchase a laptop in the next 6 months compared with our May results. Similarly, there’s a 1.5-point increase year-over-year.

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Apple (42%; up 5 points) is the most popular manufacturer among respondents who plan to buy a laptop in the next 6 months. HP (26%; up 2 points) is the only other top manufacturer to improve this quarter.

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Planned desktop purchasing is virtually unchanged from May and is actually down slightly year-over-year.

Apple (44.4%) leads among respondents who plan to buy a desktop in the next 6 months, with second place Dell experiencing a sizeable 7.8-point pull back.

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