Apple's iPad still too expensive for most

Two-thirds of potential iPad buyers expect to pay less than $500 (£317) or €500 (£423), according to a survey of 4800 US and European consumers conducted by Strategy Analytics’ Tablet and Touchscreen Strategies service.

With iPad retail pricing starting at £429 ($499 in the US) and up, price is likely to present Apple with its biggest hurdle as it seeks to sustain the iPad’s early success. The report concludes that competitors may gain tablet market share by targeting consumers’ price expectations, and that Apple will eventually be obliged to offer lower-priced iPads.

The study, Apple's iPad: Users, Buying Intentions and Price Expectations, also found that iPad users are not typical hardcore Apple fans, with many continuing to use mobile phones and computers from other brands, and still managing to think positively of them. Only 22 per cent of iPad users also use an iPhone, for example. The survey offers strong evidence that other technology firms such as Blackberry/RIM, Samsung and Motorola should be able use their own brand loyalty to tap into the burgeoning demand for tablet devices.

"Apple has had a clear run at the tablet market for the last few months," says David Mercer, Principal Analyst and the report’s author. "As tablets from other major brands begin to arrive we expect price competition to heat up, and many consumers tell us they are waiting for lower-priced devices."

The survey also found that Acer and Dell are the most popular computer brands owned by iPad users, that iPad buyers are less sensitive than average to paying monthly fees for additional services, and that more people expect to buy an iPad during the coming 12 months than an Xbox 360 or a PS3

The online survey was conducted July-Sept 2010 with a weighted sample of 4800 respondents in the US, France, Germany, Italy and the UK.