One-in-four iPad Purchases are made by First-Time Apple Owners, According to The NPD Group

iPad and iPhone Replace iPod as the First Apple Device Owned in Households

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, APRIL 26, 2012 – The iPad is drawing new consumers to the Apple brand with more than one-in-four iPad owners saying the device is their first Apple product. According to leading market research company, The NPD Group’s recent Apple Ecosystem Study, 33 percent of U.S. homes, (37 million households) own Apple products. While a majority (69 percent) of these consumers own iPods, ownership of iPads is growing.

“iPad sales are growing much faster than any other Apple product has this soon after launch,” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at NPD. “”In fact, one-in-five Apple owner households has one— nearly equivalent to the number that own an Apple computer. This demonstrates the appeal of both the new form factor and Apple’s app ecosystem.”

Historically, the iPod has been the introductory Apple device for consumers, with 82 percent of owners saying it was their first Apple product.  This, however, is changing as first-time Apple buyers gravitate toward other product lines.  While over 70 percent of long-standing Apple owners began their relationship with the brand by way of the iPod, this number declines to just 57 percent among those entering the Apple franchise in the past two years.  Newcomers to the brand increasingly turn to the iPhone or iPad as their first Apple device, which combined account for one-third of first-time Apple purchases since 2010.   NPD’s Retail Tracking Service shows iPod sales declined nearly 18 percent in 2011, a result of consumer preference and digital media playback functionality migrating to other portable devices.

On average, Apple households own 2.4 Apple devices but technology ownership in these homes spans across multiple manufacturers and platforms.  Six- in-ten (58 percent) households owning a Mac also own a PC, and nearly 30 percent of Apple brand enthusiasts own a non-Apple smartphone. 

 “Apple’s OS X, iOS, and App Store are platforms specially tailored for their products,” said Arnold. “Should more households become multiple Apple product homes, these platforms will become even more important in the acquisition and sharing of content between devices. “Forty percent of electronics shoppers say owning devices in the same brand family is an important purchase factor.  As consumers look for greater interoperability between devices and more brands become aligned with platforms, we could see fewer multi-brand ecosystems in the household.”


More than 3,000 consumers from NPD’s online panel participated in the study which was conducted in February and balanced to represent U.S. household demographics.  Nearly one-third of the respondents owned at least one Apple device.

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