News from The Wall Street Journal is that the iPad mini is hitting big in China, but not with everyday folk. Even though Apple has gone to great lengths to curb scalper activity, most first-day shoppers have been liaisons for the gray market. Other than opportunists out for an extra buck, there wasn’t much fanfare for today’s big iPad mini launch in China.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s iReserve system, which required Chinese customers to enter an online lottery in order to be able to buy the iPad mini on launch day, cleared the street of potential riots, but it subsequently gave people a reason to stay home. On top of that, most of the lucky lottery winners were in cahoots with scalpers who were waiting just outside the store, collecting iPad minis from customers who had just purchased one.
As far as legitimate consumer of the iPad mini goes, analyst Mark Newman for Sandord Bernstein believes that consumers are lukewarm to the device due to availability of cheaper tablets in the same category.
“Most Chinese consumers have a modest disposable income, and a lot of them are going for cheaper offerings,” Newman said. “We believe the mass market is more interested in specs rather than brand–similar to what we’ve seen for smartphones in China.”
Interestingly, India seems to be experiencing the exact opposite. According to the Hindu Business Line, the response to the iPad launch has been very successful. According to business owner Mukesh Shah, the reason for the success – “It’s Apple.”
Apple’s market share of tablets has declined steadily during 2012. According to Newman, the iPad maker’s share is expected to drop to 58 percent by the end of 2012, a significant drop from it’s launch only two years ago of 86 percent.
David Wolf, chief executive of marketing consulting firm Wolf Group Asia believes that Apple was bound to lose ground to competitors. “We are going to be seeing a bigger selection of tablets in the Chinese market, and when that happens, I’m comfortable that Apple won’t be seeing 70% market share on an ongoing basis.”