It only takes a trip down the aisles of any suburban supermarket to see that it’s the mark of the modern consumer never to be satisfied. Buyers require seven flavors of Cheerios, and it turns out, not surprisingly, that shoppers want more than just a one-size-fits-all approach to purchasing a tablet computer.
A recent survey of 8,700 consumers around the world conducted in November 2011 by the Boston Consulting Group found consumers want choice in tablet function and price, as well as the security of a supporting ecosystem.
Customers in the US, Europe, and China are all willing to pay more for a tablet than they were in 2010 — but that doesn’t mean price isn’t still paramount for consumers. The range of what folks are willing to pay varied dramatically from region to region with the US respondents suggesting $140 – $240 (+$35 from 2010), Europeans suggesting $250 – $350 (+$100 from 2010) and Chinese respondents suggesting $280 – $440 (+$185 from 2010) as amounts they like to pay for a tablet. Optimal price ranges in Europe and China are between 50 – 95 percent higher than those reported by US survey respondents.
“The iPad is great but expensive for a lot of people,” said Dominic Field, a BCG partner and coauthor of the study. “Early results suggest that Amazon’s Kindle Fire, priced at $199 in the U.S., has found the sweet spot.”
Consumers are willing to forgo the purchase of a different type of computer in order to purchase a tablet. BCG found that 50 percent of consumers in the survey planned to purchase a tablet instead of a netbook, while 33 percent planned to buy a tablet in lieu of a laptop or desktop PC.
Tablets aren’t the only devices taking a bite out of the personal computing market. Twenty percent of consumers also considered purchasing an e-reader instead of a PC, laptop, or even a smartphone. Half of the non-tablet owners surveyed in the US claimed they planned to buy a tablet or an e-reader in the next year.
According to the survey, tablet owners have conquered the home front, particularly the bedroom, as 80 percent of tablet owners report using the devices in bed. Tablets have yet to make significant inroads in the workplace because survey respondents found them too slow and lacking Windows compatibility.
If the consumerization of IT continues and more workers are able to bring iOS devices to work, then more tablets will appear in the workplace as Apple chips away at Windows hegemony.
“The door is open to iPad competitors that can offer attractive combinations of size, features, price, software, and services optimized around a particular use or uses,” said Joachim Stephan, a BCG partner and coauthor of the study.
It also seems that consumers want the iPad without the hefty price tag, which makes the idea of a smaller or less costly iPad model, about which numerous rumors have circulated, very appealing.