Apple may be gearing up for the international launch of the iPad on May 28th, but according to Mike Stevens, Director of Simpson Carpenter’s TMT team, dear old Blighty will be left nonplussed by Apple’s wonder-tablet.
After a period of research on four qualitative groups of typical UK consumers, Stevens came to the conclusion that the iPad is unlikely to become a mass market product on these shores.
“When the iPhone was launched, it revolutionised an existing category that people understood”, he said. “The iPad is at the vanguard of a new category that sits between the computer and the phone – so it’s not surprising that many consumers struggle to see how it could fit in their lives.
“Niche groups with specific emotional or functional needs love it; but right now there isn’t a compelling incentive to get mainstream consumers to buy it. Of course this may change once they see how early adopters use it – but in our view the iPad will take longer to achieve the sales growth and wider market impact of the iPhone.
“Of course an impulsive minority will simply have to have it. For them, it’s not about function, compatibility or improvement but about raw appeal, its sheer magic. Typical of these consumers was this response “‘It’s just fantastic. I don’t need it, but it’s wonderful and I want it.'”
While any research of this kind has to be approached with some caution, the findings here hold more credence as those potential consumers questioned were actually given hands-on time with the iPad. It seems once the “Wow” factor of the tablet form passes, many people remain unsure of where such devices fit in their everyday lives.