Demand for Kindle, Kindle Fire Declining, Analyst

Kindle "Fire"Demand for Amazon’s Kindle readers and its Kindle Fire tablet is decreasing, according to Pacific Crest analyst Chad Bartley. In a research note, the analyst told clients that an intent-to-purchase survey conducted by his firm found fewer people planning to buy a Kindle Fire, and far few people intending to buy one of Amazon’s E-ink Kindle readers.

In the brokerage firm’s Q1 survey, some 4.9 percent of respondents said they intended to buy a Kindle Fire tablet. In the Q2 survey, which was just conducted, that number had declined to 4.5 percent. This matches the analyst’s supply checks, which indicated a 10 percent month-over-month decline in component orders in February, and a further 15 percent sequential decline in March.

The analyst is modelling for sales of 2 million Kindle Fire units during the first quarter. That’s lower than his earlier forecast of 2.2 million unit sales. For the full year, he now expects 13.5 million Kindle Fire sales—that’s down from 14.9 million previously forecast, but he is leaving that forecast intact due to potential sales of a Kindle refresh expected later in 2012.

It’s Amazon’s E-ink-based Kindle reader devices like the Kindle and Kindle Touch that are really taking a hit. The analyst slashed his forecast for 2012 sales of the device from 24 million units to just 12.3 million. The analyst fond that 5 percent of respondents intended to buy a Kindle reader, down from 10 percent in the previous survey.

“We attribute weakening demand to the large install base of Kindle e-readers—over 28 million— and maturing of the category after initial adoption by avid readers. We also believe ebooks are being read on a broader array of devices,” the analyst said in his research note.

He cited Pew Internet Research data that found 41 percent of e-book readers read on an e-reader device like Kindle or Nook, that 42 percent read them on a computer, that 29 percent read them on a cell phone, and that the other 23 percent read them on a on a tablet like iPad or Kindle Fire.

“The significant decline in demand for Kindle e-readers adds to risk for Amazon,” the analyst concluded.

The news doesn’t seem to have hurt Amazon’s stock, however, which was trading higher in the late afternoon session at $190.87, up $2.90 (+1.54%), on light volume of 3.9 million shares trading hands.