NPD: iPad Ripple Effect Strong

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Port Washington, N.Y. - The success of Apple's iPad is not cutting into sales of lower-end laptops, but it is pumping huge sums of money into the PC category, according to a report from The NPD Group.

The research firm is crediting the iPad with injecting billions of dollars into the PC category via sales of the device itself and aftermarket accessories.

The report stated almost 75 percent of iPad purchasers said they had no intention of buying anything else, which means the iPad sale did not come at the expense of another PC or laptop sale.

In addition, 83 percent of iPad buyers bought an accessory, normally a case. Only half of those cases were Apple branded and 50 percent of the cases and screen protectors were bought at a different retailer than the iPad.

Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD, said these facts indicate the iPad helps spread the wealth among retailers and vendors.

This was not true of the iPad purchase itself. NPD found that 75 percent of iPad sales during the holidays were from Apple or Best Buy. Carrier stores were credited with only 3 percent of sales, which Baker said showed consumer indifference for 3G connectivity.

"Consumers just do not see the utility in 3G connectivity," said Baker. "There's an added expense for the device and for the service, something a majority of iPad owners aren't willing to pay."

When it came to whether or not iPads were having a negative impact on PC sales, Baker said this was not true. While early adopters may have bought an iPad over another device, more recent iPad customers never intended to buy anything else.

Looking back over the 2010 holiday season, Baker said only 12 percent of iPad owners chose buying an iPad over another non-tablet product.

As further proof that iPads are not negatively impacting mid- and lower-priced Windows laptops and netbooks ($500 and lower), NPD's Retail Tracking Service stated sales for this segment grew by 21 percent for the six months ending in March. This now comprises the largest portion of the consumer notebook market.

More expensive laptops did suffer during this period, with sales falling 25 percent.

The report blamed the tail-off in PC sales growth on continuing hot sales of netbooks and the previous uptick in sales caused by the release of Windows 7.


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