Survey: Who Wants a Tablet? Gimme an iPad!

Some 50% of consumers surveyed by Bernstein Research want an iPad, and the rest want something that’s very similar to an iPad, leading the researchers to conclude what this reporter has said frequently and often: Apple is likely to dominate the tablet market with its iPad the same way it dominated the “MP3 Player” market with the iPod.

“Fifty percent of respondents preferred Apple over all other brands,” the research firm wrote in a report, which was obtained by AllThingD. “There is a remarkable degree of unanimity in consumer’s preferences for the iPad over competing products. … In the US, we find that Apple has more than double the brand appeal of BlackBerry, HTC, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung combined. These manufacturers have a very high level of brand equity and visibility in adjacent categories. It is striking that they hold so little appeal for consumers in tablets.”

The companies listed by Bernstein Research in its results represent the bottom four companies plus Research In Motion, the company with the third best showing (at 9%). Even looking at the top three also-rans, however — Dell (12%), RIM (9%), and Samsung (7%) — Apple is still almost double their combined showing in the survey.  As you can see in the chart below, even “No Preference” scored higher than the bottom five brands.

Part of the problem for would-be competitors, the firm found, is that Apple has defined the sweet spot for specs. Only 15% of respondents prefer the 7” form factor that has represented the bulk of competing tablets that can come close to matching Apple’s iPad on price.

“Over 50 percent of respondents are firmly in favor of the 10” screen,” the company wrote, “which leads us to conclude that the 7” tablet models recently launched, like the BlackBerry PlayBook, are destined for failure. Consumer’s preference for the 10” form factor explains the lukewarm response to Samsung’s 7” Galaxy tablet and the rapid introduction of larger screen models in that series.”

Bernstein Research Data

Data by Bernstein Research, chart by The Mac Observer
(There are similar results for the UK you can in AllThingsD’s report)

The researchers concluded that the tablet market is likely to break in one of two ways. In one scenario (the one predicted by yours truly) Apple maintains at least 60% market share leaving the rest of the market fragmented. the other scenario leaves Apple as the largest competitor competing alone at the high end of the market.

Either way, Bernstein Research concluded that there is “minimal upside for handset manufacturers in both scenarios.”