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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."

Agreed.

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