Comparatively speaking that is.  The Norwegian Newspaper Aftenposten today reported that 18% of Norwegians wants a tablet by the end of 2011. The newspaper stated: ‘Now, ‘Everyone’ Wants Tablets.’ The respondents were asked: Are you considering to buy a tablet such as iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Amazon Kindle the next year?

A high number, you say? Well, I agree. But let us compare with another survey.

In late 2009, Norwegian Mobile TV Corporation (NMTV) hired Norstat to talk to 828 people in the Greater Oslo region (the coverage area for MiniTV)- They asked a number of questions, among others the following: How likely is it that you will buy a MiniTV (DMB) device, given that the price is reasonable?

The respondents could answer: Very unlikely, Unlikely, Likely, Very likely or Neither/Don’t know. 56% of males answered that it is very likely or likely that they’ll buy such a device, while 44% of females answered the same.

What you answer to such a question is not necessarily relevant as you don’t commit to anything when answering, and as you may want to perceived differently than what is the case. More people will buy tablets than DMB receivers in Norway in 2011, at least until DMB receivers come implemented in mobile phones and tablets. Why are the surveys so inaccurate? Marketing and media coverage play the biggest roles and help generate interest or hype which is required in order to introduce a successful product or service.

I also think that a fair amount of tablets will be sold the next 12 months, but I do not think that tablets will make people want to pay for electronic versions of newspapers or magazines, as argued in Cry Wolf, Cry Pad.  

Other surveys
Let us look at some less extreme examples. They are much more similar to the tablet survey mentioned above.

In a survey from February 2010 we asked the following:
Are you considering to buy a MiniTV device the next year?

23% answered yes.

And in two surveys from 2008 and 2009 the Norwegian media industry asked about digital radios (DAB or DAB+). Are you or your household considering to buy a DAB radio the next year?

13.1% answered yes in 2008, 12.9% said the same in 2009. I do not yet have the numbers from 2010.

This makes the 18% saying that they want to but tablets seem less extreme. The newspaper article from Aftenposten could in other words have been modified to say that the same number of people that want to buy other gadgets also want to buy tablets. That’s not very tabloid though.

Comparisons
But what did people actually buy in Norway in 2009, according to research company TNS Gallup?
Flatscreen television: 18.6%
PVR 8.9%
Videogame console 6.6%
DVD player (without recording capabilities) 4.2%
DVD player (with recording capabilities) 2.7%
Home cinema 3.2%

Will as many people buy tablets in 2011 as the number of people who purchased flatscreen televisions two years earlier? We’ll know in a year.

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