Port Washington, N.Y. - About 25 percent of all iPad purchasers are new to the Apple brand.
The NPD Group said this buying trend has led to Apple products being found in 33 percent of U.S. homes, equating to about 37 million households. The primary Apple device owned is an iPod.
However, the massive popularity of the iPad is boosting its overall home penetration to about 20 percent, said Ben Arnold, NPDs industry analysis director.
The iPad, along with the iPhone, are now taking over from the iPod as the gateway products into Apple.
Arnold said that in the past, more than 70 percent of consumers became Apple owners via the iPod, but this figure has dropped to 57 percent over the last two years as people are now attracted first to the iPad and iPhone. The fact that these two products can also handle a person's music and video playback functions has also led to the decline in iPod sales.
Overall, the NPD study found that an average Apple household owns 2.4 Apple devices, but there is also a great deal of cross-platform ownership. About 58 percent of those owning a Mac computer also own a Windows PC and 30 percent own a non-Apple smartphone.
The NPD study was comprised of 3,000 consumers and was conducted in February.