March 11, 2011, 12:34 PM — Even the most ardent consumers of technology can't own everything.
And unfortunately for manufacturers of ebooks, laptops and netbooks, a growing number of buyers forced to make a choice are opting for tablets -- specifically Apple's iPad -- at the expense of these other products.
(Also see: Tablets are coming to an enterprise near you)
ChangeWave Research in February surveyed nearly 3,100 consumers "on tablet demand and future buying trends – including customer satisfaction, tablet cannibalization of other electronic devices, and consumer preference for wireless tablet services."
As expected, future tablet demand is rising. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they plan to buy a tablet computer in the future, up from 25 percent in ChangeWave's November survey, though only 5 percent said they planned to buy one in the next 90 days. Since the survey was completed before the iPad 2 announcement and subsequent glowing reviews, expect those numbers to climb even faster when ChangeWave does its next survey.
Of these future tablet buyers, 82 percent said they wanted an iPad, with only 4 percent longing for a Motorola Xoom and 3 percent planning to buy an RIM PlayBook. The real loser in this part of the survey, though, is the Samsung Galaxy Tab, preferred by only 3 percent of consumers planning to buy a tablet. The reason the Galaxy Tab's performance is arguably much worse than the Xoom's and the PlayBook's, despite having similar numbers, is that the Samsung tablet has been on the market for six months, while the other two haven't been released yet. So the vast majority of tablet customers have seen and read about the Galaxy Tab, and aren't interested. Ouch.
Perhaps the most significant finding in the ChangeWave survey involves tablet cannibalization -- in other words, what devices had consumers been planning to buy, but put on hold or canceled because they purchased a tablet instead?
Amazon's Kindle eReader is the biggest victim of tablet cannibalization, with 17 percent of ChangeWave respondents saying they didn't buy a Kindle because they bought a tablet instead. Another 9 percent of respondents said they purchased tablets in lieu of non-Kindle eReaders.
Other devices suffering from tablet purchases were laptops (11 percent) and netbooks (10 percent).
As more tablets enter the market this year, accompanied by massive marketing campaigns and media interest, you can expect tablet cannibalization to increase across the board.
Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.