John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Analyst: IPad a Want, Then a Need

If netbook sales are in decline, Apple’s (AAPL) iPad isn’t to blame–not yet, anyway.

According to a new survey from NPD, only 13 percent of iPad owners bought the device in lieu of a PC. For the other 87 percent, it was an incremental purchase, a luxury purchase.

Which to NPD analyst Stephen Baker means recent claims that the iPad is cannibalizing the PC market are overblown.

“Early adopters, like iPad owners, follow a traditional pattern of consumer behavior; they purchase products because they want them, not because they need them,” Baker explains. “However, as Apple increases iPad distribution and consumer interest peaks, the profile of an iPad owner is much more likely to mirror the overall tech population. When that does happen other tech products with similar usage profiles as the iPad, such as notebooks, netbooks, and e-readers will come under increased pressure from the iPad.”

Evidently that’s happening already. According to Baker, folks who purchased the iPad within a few months of its release were 44 percent more likely to watch YouTube videos, 50 percent more likely to watch movies, 60 percent more likely to watch TV shows, and 38 percent more likely to be reading e-books. And that type of usage behavior is, as Baker observes, “a dagger at the heart of the usage model for netbooks and secondary notebook computers.”

A personal observation: For me, the iPad started out as an incremental purchase, driven by early adopter mania. But now, having used the device for some time, I see it as a needful one. In other words, I wanted the iPad, but I didn’t realize I needed one until I had a chance to use it.