An October survey by market research firm ChangeWave spells doom for manufacturers of netbooks. While just a few holiday seasons ago the cheap little PCs were on everyone's Christmas list, now they're only attractive to 14% of people who are considering the purchase of a laptop computer. At their peak, almost a quarter of laptop customers wanted inexpensive netbooks.
Why the big change in such a short amount of time? The iPad, which is attracting the attention of buyers who want a small, portable device for web browsing and email. It doesn't appear that the upcoming flood of iPad competitors is having much of an effect, either. ChangeWave's data (based on a sample size of 3,108 consumers) shows that a whopping 80% of potential tablet buyers are considering the iPad, a figure 10 times that of the next closest competitor -- the still-unreleased RIM Playbook. A tiny 3% of tablet buyers are opting for the Android-based (and also unreleased) Samsung Galaxy Tab (see next page for graphic).
Part of the iPad's mystique must be the amazing satisfaction ratings it gets from users. According to ChangeWave, 72% of iPad owners consider themselves "Very Satisfied" with their purchase, 23% being "Somewhat Satisfied," 1% being "Somewhat Unsatisfied," and none being "Very Unsatisfied." The remaining owners replied that they "Don't Know" if they're satisfied...
Now that Apple has ramped up production and distribution of the iPad, it's entirely possible that this upcoming holiday shopping season could be the "season of the iPad."