Android Tablet Owners Driven by Cost: comScore

Apple iPad owners selected their device mostly because of a robust apps ecosystem, while Android tablet and Kindle Fire purchasers were driven largely by their devices’ lower cost.

Those are some of the conclusions drawn by research firm comScore’s new TabLens service, based on a rolling sample of 6,000 U.S. tablet owners. On a 10-point scale, surveyed iPad owners rated “Selection of apps available for my tablet” an 8.1, followed by “Brand name of the tablet” with 8.0, and “Tablet operating system” with 7.8.

Android tablet owners, on the other hand, ranked “Price of the tablet” first, with 7.9, followed by “Tablet operating system” with 7.3 and “Selection of apps available for my tablet” with 7.3.

The Kindle Fire, which runs a heavily modified version of the Android operating system, also earned the highest rating for price (8.1), followed by app selection (7.5) and then a two-way tie between brand name and “Music and video capabilities” (7.4 each).

Social-networking features and “Recommended by retail salesperson” consistently ranked at the bottom for all three types of tablets. Nor did the surveyed users seem to care overly much about their tablet having the same operating system as their smartphone, with all of them rating that factor in the mid-to-low 6’s. Of all the data, comScore seemed to take special interest in that last one.

“This finding highlights the potential for brands, such as Microsoft with its recently announced Surface Tablet, to see consumer adoption in the tablet market even though they might lack strong penetration in the smartphone market,” read the report accompanying the data.

The firm excluded single-purpose e-readers, such as Amazon’s gray-scale Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, from its survey.

Following the iPad’s spectacular success, a number of manufacturers rushed to market with tablets running some variant of Google Android. Despite some high-profile ad campaigns and impressive hardware specs, however, many of these tablets failed to connect with either consumers or business audiences.

Android’s fortunes in the tablet arena began to shift with the release of the Kindle Fire in late 2011. That tablet offered an easy way for users to access e-books and streaming content while on the go; its low price ($199, quite a bit lower than the iPad or many of the Android tablets on the market) ensured healthy sales throughout the holiday season.

In June of this year, Google announced the Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet running Android 4.1 (also known as “Jelly Bean”) and preloaded with a variety of apps and other content. With that device, the search-engine giant seemed determined to win a major chunk of the Android-tablet market dominated by the Kindle Fire.

Yet Apple’s iPad continues to dominate the tablet market in terms of total units sold, despite costing more than either the Kindle Fire or the Nexus 7. As demonstrated by comScore’s numbers, iPad buyers clearly think the apps and the Apple brand name outweigh the extra cost.


Image: Kostenko Maxim/