Consumers demand tablets

Kelkoo has revealed that over half of those consumers questioned in a recent survey said they would buy a tablet PC.

Altogether, 54% of consumers would consider buying a tablet PC, with a third (33%) planning to do so in the next six months, and 35% claiming they would ditch laptops in favour of the smaller tablets.

The Apple iPad ignited the tablet PC market with worldwide sales now estimated at 7.5 million since launch, predicted to reach 12 million by the end of the year.

Although Apple has been credited with reversing the fortunes of the tablet PC market, its market dominance is being challenged for the first time by a series of rivals, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which has been hailed as the iPad’s first serious contender and offers additional features such as phone calls, a camera and Adobe flash 10.1. The survey showed that 15% of consumers are claiming they would purchase a Galaxy Tab over an iPad due to its portability (35%), built-in phone (29%), and ability to play flash files (27%), the research claimed.

Yet iPad is expected to remain most popular tablet PC in consumers’ eyes, with two thirds (69%) saying they would choose it over a Samsung Galaxy Tab (15%), or the Blackberry Playbook (11%).

On average, users spend 2.5 hours a day or 67 hours per month on tablet PCs. The majority said they mainly use tablets for browsing the internet (68%), 7% to read e-books and newspapers, and just 4.5% to watch movies and TV.

Despite consumer purse strings tightening, UK consumers are willing to pay on average £458 for their tablet PC, with more than three quarters (77%) willing to spend up to £500. Almost one in five are prepared to spend between £500 to £700.

Bruce Fair, managing director at Kelkoo UK, commented: “Tablet computers have gone mainstream and speculation is rife about the impact that tablet market domination may have on the wider PC industry in the long run, especially in light of the numerous players that have recently announced their entry to market. The launch of Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab comes hand in hand with Apple’s recent announcement that it has sold 7.5 million iPads since launch.

“Apple undoubtedly has the ‘Midas touch’ when it comes to transforming the fortunes of consumer tech devices, and as the iPod did with MP3 players, there are already clear signs that the iPad is the dominant player in the burgeoning tablet PC market. Industry experts have already predicted that consumers will buy 21 million iPads by the end of next year and other analysts put the number even higher. Our own research has revealed the power of this emerging market, with over half of consumers in the UK saying they would consider buying a tablet PC, and a third of those, looking to purchase a model within the next 6 months.

“Although responsible for redefining the market, the functionality of the first generation of iPad has its limitations, with competitors promising to deliver better portability and usability. The soon to be available Samsung Galaxy Tab’s use of Android, for example, will enable users to play flash movies, something the iPad doesn’t currently offer. However, unfortunately for Samsung, the ‘Apple factor’ still weighs heavily on gadget lovers’ minds and its slick designs and cool brand image are a tough act to follow,” concluded Fair.