Smartphones, PC laptops, and iPads Lead Consumer Interest, But There’s a Catch

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Strategy Analytics released consumer buying interest data today indicating that in the next twelve months people are most interested in getting an iPhone, Android phone, PC laptop, and iPads (in that order) this year. However, it’s what is gaining and losing that is far more interesting for looking ahead to 2013.

The Next Web summarizes the findings well in their first paragraph:

The holiday 2012 season may be over, but that doesn’t mean Americans have suddenly stopped being interested in buying gadgets. In fact, 23.5 percent of US consumers say they are likely to buy an iPhone in the next year, 21.6 percent are looking at an Android smartphone, 17.4 percent want a portable PC, and 15.3 percent plan on getting an iPad.

But it was the rest of the story that really got me thinking.

Strategy Analytics, sadly, doesn’t go into any additional detail other than what TNW said, which is this: interest in buying TVs is up, laptops and desktops down, and Blu-Ray players down.

I’ll leave TV aside for the time being, I wonder if there is a longer-term cycle we’re looking at here for replacing TVs. CRTs to HD then better HD (smart TVs?), it seems about the right time for people to start thinking about new TVs. It’s the decline in laptops (Mac and PC) and Blu-Ray players that are real indicators of longer term changes and trends.

With more and better on demand and streaming entertainment, why would you want to invest in a new Blu-Ray player? Maybe a new system that happened to include a Blu-Ray player, but also had built in support for Netflix and other services, that would make sense. Sure I picked up a few Blu-Ray titles this year, but mostly to have a physical and digital copy of the title to watch. Physical media might not be circling the drain yet, but it isn’t going to be long (five years) before only pick up physical media copies of titles that we just can’t find digitally (classics, niche titles, etc).

The laptop decline—despite PC laptops are #3 on the wish list—is far more telling. I think people have realized that a laptop is truly overkill for many folks. I gave my mom my first generation iPad last spring and a second generation for Christmas. She uses it all the time. Her laptop is literally gathering dust in her guest room. It’s also important to note that desktop computers declined as well. This I find a little surprising. Sure a tablet can suffice for many folks’ portable needs, but a larger computer, at least for the storage, printing, and other apps, I think is still important. Maybe the people surveyed are taking a “wait and see” approach before picking up a new machine.

If there is anything to be drawn from these survey data is that mobility is key. People want their tech to be with them wherever they are and that is motivating their buying this year.

Photo from Flickr by Mike Lau.

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