- October 26, 2011
When Apple first introduced the iPad in 2010, there was no small amount of skepticism. However, the product’s initial mixed reaction did not stop it from selling over 14.8 million units and being named as one of Time Magazine‘s 50 Best Inventions of the Year 2010. The iPad now takes approximately 83% of the total tablet market.
So, how will folks like Amazon Fire and Samsung Galaxy possibly compete? Dell asked themselves the same question and hired design and branding agency, Method to do research on the tablet market. The hope? To uncover some new insights to help Dell design a product to compete with the iPad behemoth. So, what did Method find?
Method proposed a novel approach to better understanding the tablet market. Rather than conducting focus groups and customer interviews, the company mined Google to figure out what people were searching for. Exploring exact-match search volumes, they produced a mind-map-like infographic that showcased what folks actually cared about.
The bigger the black circles (which represent tablet properties), the more it was searched for. The darker the color of the colored nodes coming off the black circles, the higher the search activity was there.
What this data visualization uncovers are some interesting dimensions of how people search for products in this market. Speed, memory, screen size and weight – four factors that we’ve grown accustomed to believing play a heavy role in purchase decisions for laptops – are hugely important factors for tablets. Storage, battery life and interestingly enough, depth were the three key components. Diving into these three dimensions a little bit more deeply, you’ll see that folks are looking to maximize battery life, want lots of storage and are generally looking for a model that is on moderately thin side.
What does this all mean? In the pool of current and potential tablet users, it’s more important for the device to be easy to use (lots of storage, not going to die on you easily, reasonably light) and not necessarily powerful (memory, speed, etc). I’d be curious to track these searches over time to see if folks’ expectations of these products ramp up or if we really are reasonably content with how powerful our tablets are.