John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Kindle Fire Not Exactly Burning Up U.S. Tablet Market

Though its launch commanded a lot of consumer attention, demand for Amazon’s Kindle Fire appears to be declining — precipitously. Last month IDC published research indicating that global Fire shipments had fallen from 4.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 to fewer than 750,000 units last quarter. Now comes further confirmation of that decline.

A new survey of potential tablet buyers by ChangeWave Research shows collapsing interest in Amazon’s tablet. Conducted in May with a sample of 2,893 North American consumers, it shows just 8 percent of respondents interested in purchasing the Fire in the next 90 days. That’s a big change from last November, when the device first launched. Then, 22 percent of survey respondents indicated that they planned to buy the Fire. So, in six months, interest in Amazon’s $199 tablet has slipped by nearly two-thirds.

That’s a sizable drop. What’s behind it?

ChangeWave speculates that it’s related to a decline in customer satisfaction. Since the research firm’s last survey, the percentage of customers reporting high satisfaction with the Fire has slipped 15 points. In this latest survey, just 41 percent of Fire owners said they were “very satisfied” with the device. Meanwhile, 81 percent of iPad owners said the same thing about their tablet. Little wonder that 73 percent of consumers planning to buy a tablet say they’ll opt for an iPad.

But, as we’ve noted before, there are likely other reasons for slumping Kindle Fire demand, as well.

  • It could be dropping off as customers postpone their purchases in anticipation of a new version of the device.
  • Or it could be declining because the Fire was a really well-executed holiday play whose novelty has since worn off.
  • Or it could be that the iPad 2, which Apple continues to sell alongside the new iPad at a lower price, is winning over some of the same consumers that Amazon has been targeting with the Fire.

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December 30, 2013 at 6:49 am PT

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December 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm PT

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December 29, 2013 at 5:58 am PT

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December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm PT

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald