Kindle Fire demand surpasses iPad ahead of launch, could be a threat

Amazon is seeing huge pent-up demand for its Kindle Fire tablet ahead of launch according to data from a recent study. Market research firm ChangeWave conducted a survey of 2,600 consumers in an effort to quantify demand for Amazon’s upcoming Kindle Tablet. In a note to clients on Wednesday, RBC analyst Mike Abramsky presented ChangeWave’s data, which shows strong demand that exceeds pre-launch demand for the iPad as determined by a similar survey in 2010. Read on for more.

According to ChangeWave’s survey, 5% of respondents have already pre-ordered Amazon’s Kindle Fire, or they are very likely to purchase the tablet following its launch next week. Another 12% of respondents say they are somewhat likely to purchase the device. A similar survey conducted in 2010 ahead of the iPad’s launch found that 4% of respondents were very likely to buy the tablet and 9% were somewhat likely.

Apple’s iPad was the first modern media tablet on the market when it launched last year. As the category was unfamiliar at the time, it is possible that consumers were hesitant to commit to a purchase. Now that tablets have flooded the market, however successful or unsuccessful most models may be, consumers are likely familiar with the device category and therefore more comfortable with committing one way or the other.

The more interesting stat, perhaps, is that more than a quarter of respondents in ChangeWave’s survey who confirmed an imminent Kindle Fire purchase said they would buy the Amazon tablet in place of an iPad.

“Tablet contenders (Xoom, Galaxy Tab, PlayBook, etc) have failed to gain appreciable traction against iPad’s est. 67% share, and iPad 2 should be a popular holiday purchase,” Abramsky wrote in his note. “However, strong early Fire uptake seems likely, raising speculation Apple now faces a real tablet contender. Survey data says 26% of likely Fire buyers (i.e. of the 5%) say they will delay/put on hold iPad buying. Sustained Fire uptake and ‘buzz’ will depend on consumer/reviewer reactions to Fire’s user experience.”

Amazon’s Kindle Fire launches on November 15th for $199 and pre-orders have been very strong. Analysts estimate that the online retail giant could sell as many as 5 million Kindle Fire tablets in the holiday quarter this year.

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