Awareness of Apple's upcoming iPad release is highest among current Apple owners, (82%), consumers with $100,000 or more income (80%), and 18-34 year olds (78%), according to a new report by The NPD Group.
Those demographic groups are the ones with the most interest in buying an iPad. Only 18 percent of all consumers indicated a real interest in owning an iPad while 27 percent of 18-34 year olds and 24 percent of Apple owners said they were extremely or very interested.
One of the main reasons Apple owners are interested in the iPad is because it's an Apple product. Thirty-seven percent cited "liking the Apple brand" as a top reason for their interest in the iPad. That tied with "multi-touch screen," which was also the number one reason driving interest among 18-34 year olds. The 18-34 year old demographic is also the most likely to play music and access the Internet on the iPad.
"The most interested potential iPad customers see it primarily as a music device, or for its internet access capabilities," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "Considering what people are planning to use the iPad for, it's not hard to understand why people who have these capabilities on other devices, such as the iPod Touch or a notebook/netbook, may not want to spend $500 or more on a similar device.
"This points to the need for Apple to close the content deals that focus the iPad on what is likely to be its best long-range value proposition around high quality media consumption."
For some consumers, and Apple owners, spending $500 or more for a new device that does not yet have a clear advantage over other devices is not appealing. Among the tech-savvy 18-34 year old demographic, 57 percent cited price as the number one reason they aren't ready to buy; that's 25 percent more than the overall percentage of non-interested buyers. Among Apple owners, 43 percent felt that the pricing was too expensive. But it's not the price tag alone that's making the iPad seem too expensive to these non-interested buyers.
The other factor is that they are equating the iPad to a notebook or netbook replacement. Among 18-34 year olds and current Apple product owners "rather use a notebook or netbook instead" was cited by 51 percent and 44 percent respectively of those demographics as a reason not to buy.
Even those demographics who have the most interest in the iPad are not making a strong commitment to buy an iPad in the near future and that reflects what overall consumers are saying.
When asked what the likelihood of purchasing an iPad in the next six months was, 9 percent of all consumers surveyed said they were "extremely or very likely" to do so, as did 10 percent of 18-34 years olds and 9 percent of Apple owners. But there were a greater number of consumers who were "not very likely" or "not likely at all" to purchase an iPad in the next six months. Sixty-six percent of both the all consumers surveyed and 18-34 year olds don't foresee an iPad purchase in their future, and 60 percent of Apple owners felt the same way.