‘Amazon using retail strength to rival Apple in tablet war’

Google and Samsung may be the leading brands to challenge Apple in the mid-to-high end smartphone market, but in the tablet sector Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the nearest rival to Apple’s iPad, according to research from Kantar Media. 

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Kantar Media’s study, taken from its 300,000-strong consumer panel, shows 57 per cent of panellists searching for tablets – or “brand considerers” as Kantar calls them – searched Apple iPad product pages, followed by 28 per cent who visit pages profiling the Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Meanwhile, rival Android tablet manufacturers Samsung (which produces the Galaxy Tab) and Google (with its Nexus device) trail with their device’s pages generating 24 per cent and 7 per cent of visits respectively, according to the study. 

Sandy Livingstone, client service director at Kantar Media, says: “This research highlights the need for Google, Samsung and Sony to look at developing more effective online retail strategies to combat Apple’s dominance of the premium tablet market, and the challenge they face from Amazon for mid-market devices which is leaving them squeezed in the middle.”

Kantar Media also suggests Amazon is more successful at leveraging its dual role as both retailer and manufacturer, as brand considerers in the rapidly developing sector increasingly research their purchases online.

The study found 73 per cent of brand considerers used retailers’ websites to research their purchases, compared to 31 per cent that went direct to device manufacturer sites, while 12 per cent used professional review sites.  

Argos and Amazon were the top-performing retailers in actually persuading brand considerers to actually make a purchase with their conversion rates almost twice that of the industry norm (see chart).

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Meanwhile, PC World’s tablet shoppers spent the most time on its site, retaining their interest for 9.1 minutes, significantly ahead of the 2.6 minutes consumers spend on Amazon’s tablet pages.

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