If the latest survey data from Nielsen is anything to go by, Santa Claus is going to be loaded down with Apple products this year. Nearly half of kids aged 6-12 said they want an iPad this year, while nearly a quarter of kids aged 13 or over said the same thing.
Nielsen surveyed a "general population sample" of 3000 to obtain these results, and particularly for kids aged 6-12, the survey makes Apple's predictions of record sales this holiday quarter look more likely than ever. The iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone are the top three products kids 6-12 are interested in buying in the next six months. (While the survey says "interested in buying," considering the age groups involved and the time of year, it probably means something closer to "interested in receiving.")
Interestingly, the numbers skew far differently for the 13+ age group. The iPad is still the most in-demand product by a comfortable margin, but the iPhone is in seventh place while the iPod touch is 12th out of 18. One possible explanation could be that quite a few people in this age group already have an iPhone or iPod; that probably also explains why all of the Big Three video game consoles, traditionally very highly-sought items during the holiday season, placed quite far down on the list of in-demand items for both age groups.
"Computer" was also a device both age groups were highly interested in buying; though Nielsen's data doesn't differentiate between Windows PCs and Macs, it's hard to imagine that even the most jaded of kids would turn up their nose at a MacBook Air.
Based on this survey data, if you're stumped for ideas on what gifts to give your kids this holiday season, it looks like you can't go wrong with an iPad. Over the next several days we'll have holiday gift guides for the iPad, iPod, and iPhone (our gift guide for the Mac is already posted) to help you decide which of these products might be the right gift.