Survey: iPad Announcement Increased Awareness, Fails to Convert New Buyers

A survey from online consumer electronics shopping site Retrevo found that Apple's iPad media event significantly raised awareness of the device, but failed to convince those who were not already interested in the device that they needed one. On the other hand, the survey also found a marked increase in the percentage of customers who would like to buy an iPad, from 3% to 9%.

While the two conclusions may seem incongruous at first blush, a more in-depth look at the numbers clears up any confusion, and we'll start with the timing of the surveys. Retrevo asked customers in the days leading up to the iPad announcement if they had heard about a new Apple tablet that might be revealed in January.

At that point in time, some 48% of respondents said they had heard of the heard of the device, with 26% saying they were not interested. 19% said they wanted to wait and see what it looks like, while 3% were ready to buy even before it was announced. Before the event, 42% of respondents had not heard of it, but 17% were interested in learning more.

Retrevo Chart
Chart courtesy of Retrevo

After the event, the big win for Apple comes in the increase to 9% of respondents who would like to buy an iPad. That's a marked increase, and a number that Retrevo president Manish Rathi told The Mac Observer is very good news for Apple. Another dose of good news for Apple is the increase of overall awareness of the iPad, which increased to 82% of respondents saying they had heard about the device.

The big loss for Apple comes in the increase in the number of people who had heard, but were not interested in the iPad, from 26% of respondents to 52%. The company's interpretation of the data from the survey is that the increase in the number of people wanting to buy an iPad came from those already interested in the device, and not from those who had not been interested before the announcement.

Retrevo also found a big increase in the number of people who said they they did not need an iPad based on what they knew, a number that increased from 49% before the announcement to 61% after the announcement. At the same time, however, the number of people who said they definitely needed one increased from 3% to 5%.

Retrevo Chart
Chart courtesy of Retrevo

Retrevo also found that 12% of users would pay for Apple's 3G option on the iPad, while 59% said they would not pay extra for it.

The bottom line is that if 9% of the adults in the U.S. were to actually buy an iPad, the device would be a massive smash hit. According to Retrevo president Manish Rathi, the point of his company's survey announcement was to highlight Apple's inability to convert new customers, as opposed to suggesting the iPad would be a failure.

"Apple's media event resulted in people segmenting themselves," he said. Those who were interested stay interested, but many more said they were not interested once they learned about it.