Interest for Surface RT Dropped After Launch, Study Reveals

The latest report from Parks Associates claims that consumers will purchase an Apple iPad over Amazon's Kindle Fire line this holiday season.

While that information really isn't all the surprising, the report claims that 44-percent of the holiday tablet shoppers will go with the older iPad 2 whereas 24-percent will purchase a Kindle Fire. The Surface RT tablet will come in third with a 21-percent tablet holiday market share followed by Google's Nexus tablets at 12-percent.

According to the report, Microsoft's ARM-based Surface with Windows RT was a desired product by 45-percent of the tablet seekers in 3Q12. But once the pricing and product details were announced, that desire to have a Surface RT tablet dropped to the current 21-percent level.

"Parks Associates’ holiday survey from October-November 2012 shows, for the first time, more U.S. broadband households plan to purchase a tablet than a laptop, netbook, or Ultrabook," the firm said on Friday. "33-percent of U.S.  broadband households now own a tablet, up from 15-percent last year, and Parks Associates forecasts 66-percent of U.S. broadband households will have a tablet by 2013."

The report also claims that the just-released iPad mini may cannibalize some iPad sales, as 40-percent of the iPad "intenders" expressed an interest in the smaller tablet.

The numbers generated in this report stems from a survey conducted by Parks Associates, and don't reflect true retail numbers, but rather a level of interest by survey participants. According to the firm, the $5,000 report "details consumer intentions to purchase consumer electronics devices during the 2012 holiday shopping season. It profiles the most desired products and brands, budgets, and the purchase process. It also provides a deep-dive analysis on tablets—one of the hottest CE devices this year."

It will be interesting to see the final holiday tablet sales come January. Currently the iPad mini doesn't seem to be too much of a disruption, and Google is having a hard time keeping its new Nexus 10 "Jelly Bean" tablet in stock. That said, consumer dollars will speak more about desire than a simple survey.

Did consumers really lose interest once Microsoft revealed the Surface RT's pricing and hardware specs? Only Microsoft knows the real numbers right now, but the company is now releasing the tablet to retailers early rather than making the gadget a Microsoft Store exclusive until January. Current unit sales may have something to do with that.

Regardless, there's a genuine interest for tablets, as the Parks Associates report points out. That's a good thing, as it means Americans have the dollars to spend even if it may not be towards a monster desktop or a blazing fast laptop.

“Consumer purchase intentions continue to rise," said John Barrett, Director, Consumer Analytics, Parks Associates. "Concerns about the economy appear to be waning, and more households plan to purchase CE devices this year than last year. All of this will translate into a very Merry Christmas."


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  • kawininjazx
    The surface seems like a cool product, but it really should have been $399 with the keyboard.
  • jay2tall
    I knew a lot of people, including myself that had a HIGH level of interest in this product. I do not own a tablet and was considering this one as my first. When their pricing came out we ALL said no. Microsoft released a NEW product at a premium price. The iPad and many Android tables have been in the market for years and people generally know what they are getting when they buy one. What genius at Microsoft thought they could jump right into the game without proving themselves to the consumer? If the RT came out at $399 WITH the keyboard, every person I know would have bought one instantly. We all talked about it and were hoping for that pricing. But no. Microsoft wanted top dollar for their product and no one wants to gamble on it. Here is an idea taken from other successful products. Take a hit on your first generation and get it into the marketplace. Then with the second gen, add more goodies and up the price. Microsoft, you killed the Surface yourself.
  • Ragnar-Kon
    I was basically sold on the Surface once I first heard about it. But then they released the price point, and how Microsoft opted to charge an extra $100 for the model with the keyboard. At that point the Surface was no longer appealing, especially considering the relatively juvenile Windows Store compared with the Apple Store and the Android Market.

    The Surface Pro is still somewhat appealing, although I admit that the recently released pricing dramatically reduces my excitement for it. I would have bought a Surface Pro with a Core i3 processor at a lower price point ($599-$749), but at $999 I might as well buy a laptop instead.
  • somebodyspecial
    Knock $100 off and change it to a Tegra3+ 1.7ghz instead of the slower 1.3ghz now and they might start flying off the shelves (of course selling it all over the place will help too). Barring that, these won't sell. Too expensive and the Nexus10 is better. I still can't believe they put in the older 1.3ghz.
  • rebel1280
    I agree with all above comments, though i want to see what the % of interest there in the Nexus 7. I just bought one for my brother for Christmas.
  • CaedenV
    Surface should simply have a lower entry price point, and have more differentiation between the lower and higher end models. On the mac and Android platforms you can get away with selling the same unit with just a storage difference... but Windows users that WANT the Windows platform tend to be relatively cheap, as well as informed. Most of us know that the cost of the extra storage is not justifiable. Give us a slightly higher clock, or some other differentiating feature, and I think more people will jump onboard.

    Also, I do not understand why MS refuses to open up the desktop to app developers. You can still have a closed system and tie everything to the store for installation, but a lot of business users (read: Bulk Sales!!!!) use programs that do not translate well to MetroUI, or are programs that naturally require heavy multi-tasking, or the program spans several individual windows. I understand wanting to move to metro, and I actually like Metro better for some things (especially media players), but for work the desktop paradigm simply works best.

    Lastly, moving to selling Surface in other stores is a good move. There is no intelligent life at my local MS store. I went in looking at phones a few weeks back, and the sales person was all stoked because of the color variety of the different phones. Just one look at me would give a pretty clear sign that I am not exactly a 'trendy' person (not that I am a complete slob), and there are probably some other marketing strategies to pursue. And to top it off, when I am asking questions about features there is a point where you need to stop trying to sell the bright green phone that I am obviously not interested in. But that is what he was trained to do, and he stuck to that line quite well, but it isn't about to sell me anything.
  • brushrop03
    Surface RT has a higher profit margin than the iPad. $297 vs $266.15. This is just to manufacture. Doesn't take into account R&D cost.

    Either way, this thing should have been $100 cheaper or came with the keyboard. I have a Surface, and love it, but I do think it's overpriced. Apps are rolling in slowly. Performance is still being tweaked with updates. Microsoft was full of themselves when they decided to release at that price.
  • spasmolytic46
    RT being locked into the Microsoft store makes it a no go. At least until its $100 and comes with a keyboard.
  • bluekoala
    Tablets are a gimick. I bought a tabletlast year while I was travelling and that's all it's ever been good for really. I'm very satisfied with it but after I'm done gaming, checking my facebook and watching a few youtube videos, I go to bed and don't want to pull out my tablet to waste some more precious ZZZ time. And for everything else I have my handy dandy Nexus phone. There's just no place for a tablet for me. Maybe if I watched TV I would use it during commercial breaks, but I don't watch TV.

    On the other hand, I can't wait to go on a trip again just so I could have a use for my tablet again.

    In my opinion, tablets are far from being a necessity. It's more of a status symbol these days.
  • Niavlys77
    I have to agree with everyone here. For a first gen product, MS was idiotic to release it at this price...especially when you still have to pay extra for the keyboards. I was telling everyone about the Surface, and everyone was really excited for it to come out. But once the price was known, not a single person I know ended up getting one. Just absolutely idiotic, MS.