A ray of light for Microsoft’s Surface: Consumer interest doubled Nexus tablet interest ahead of holidays

Surface iPad

Tablets are a hot category once again this holiday season and as it did in 2011, Apple’s (AAPL) iPad lineup is seen leading the pack this year. According to a survey conducted between October and November 2012 by market research firm Parks Associates, 44% of the tablet-seeking holiday shoppers polled planned to purchase an iPad this year and 24% were eying a Kindle Fire. The study gets interesting in the No.3 and No.4 slots, however — the firm’s data shows that 21% of consumers polled planned to purchase Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface tablet compared to just 12% who planned to by a Nexus tablet.

Considering the continued heavy interest in Google’s Nexus 7, this could be a solid indication that Surface sales this holiday quarter won’t be the catastrophe many industry watchers have predicted. Additionally, Microsoft recently announced that it has increased Surface production and expanded retail distribution.

Another interesting note from the Parks Associates study: The world was Microsoft’s oyster with the Surface tablet… until it announced pricing.

“Consumers initially expressed interest in the Microsoft Surface, but once pricing and product details were announced, holiday intentions to purchase a Microsoft Surface dropped to 21% in Q4 from 45% in Q3,” Parks Associates’ director of consumer analytics John Barrett said.

In other words, interest in Microsoft’s Surface was higher in the third quarter than interest in Apple’s iPad lineup was going into the holidays.

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