iPad’s destructive reach extends further faster

October 8, 2010

The iPad’s destructive reach seems to be extending further and faster. Apple’s tablet is taking off at a breakneck rate. Analysts now predict up to 40 million will be sold in 2011. With personal incomes and spending stagnant, it’s looking like a zero-sum game in consumer electronics. Forget PCs and netbooks. The iPad will eat into camera and GPS device sales too.

How well the touch-screen gadget is really doing will become clear later this month when Apple reports its next set of quarterly results. But there are growing signs the company is selling way more of them than anyone outside Apple, or maybe even among Steve Jobs’ inner circle, had been anticipating. It’s clear the mini notebook computer market is being throttled. Netbook unit sales had been growing at more than 30 percent annually before the iPad was unleashed. Sales are now shrinking, according to market research firm NPD Group.

But the volume of iPad sales means there will be more victims. Early adopters of new consumer electronics typically have plenty of disposable income or spend a lot on gizmos, or both. The iPad is showing signs of extending beyond this base. It looks on track to become the fastest adopted consumer good ever. And that’s really saying something considering the competition includes the ubiquitous DVD player, and Apple’s own hyper-popular iPod and iPhone.

With so many iPads flying off the shelves, however, it’s more than likely they’re not just being purchased by the well-heeled and the geeks. Instead, a wider array of consumers is probably spending its money on iPads instead of other gadgets. Sanford Bernstein analysts have noticed, for example, that digital camera sales started falling sharply around the time of the iPad introduction. Those of LCD televisions actually went negative.

It’s possible it’s just the weak economy cutting into these other gadget sales. But Apple’s iPad is increasingly looking like the real culprit.


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Wow I’m shocked. I expected it to do well despite the naysayers but the fastest consumers product ever? I’m really curious about what functions people are buying for if thats the case, because the DVD player and iPod had very well defined and obvious needs that people were willing to pay for to get filled, meanwhile there seems to be no well defined single nice to fill for the ipad.

Posted by karatebb1010 | Report as abusive

I was at a dinner tonight where I carried my iPad. The dinner was attended by 110 people. Three people approached me to tell me they had bought an iPad “just today” and four more came up to ask questions because they had plans to go buy one tomorrow “now that they were available at Target.” Two others commented they loved theirs and used them all the time.

Assuming this small sample is representative, approximately 6% were—or going to be—new adopters in two days and, including me, at least 3% had been iPads for awhile. My completely unscientific, impromptu poll shows an approximate 9% iPad adoption rate in less than six months. That is impressive.

Posted by Swordmaker | Report as abusive

What can the ‘Sanford Bernstein analysts’ possibly mean by negative sales (of LCD televisions)?

Posted by Sustainable2050 | Report as abusive

We can assure your majesty that it is so beautiful and has such fine buildings that it would even be remarkable in Spain.

Posted by perutravel523 | Report as abusive

The iPad has done extreemly well, i guess becuase its cool and that’s a big reason for the modern consumer to want to buy it

Posted by catcompare.com | Report as abusive

I’m entering this comment via iPad. Mobile Safari is not the most capable web browser there is, and typing on a glass screen is far from ideal, but overall an iPad is the most convenient, truly personal device for accessing electronic content that I’ve ever used. It has something to do with the size and shape, I guess. To my surprise, I’ve found that I really enjoy reading books on it. Also it’s great for watching movies and listening to music — through the built-in speaker, of course.

Posted by dratman | Report as abusive