Despite Phenomenal Growth Brands Slow to Adopt iPad

Since the iPad’s release in April 2010, 3.27 million units have been sold. Morgan Stanley analysts predict that 16 million units will be sold within the first year of the product’s release, and that the iPad is on target to become the world’s most popular mobile device.

In terms of usage statistics, a study conducted by L.A.-based firm Resolve Market Research has provided some insight:

  • 56% of consumers purchased it for entertainment (including gaming, reading content and watching videos online)
  • 42% purchased it for the novelty factor
  • 40% purchased for the convenience factor

The study also shows that the top two reasons for rejecting purchase of the iPad is the fact that some consumers find it unnecessary as well as expensive. This explains another finding: most current iPad owners are affluent.

These early statistics are important as brands decide whether to invest in designing for the iPad. Media/publishing as well as e-tail brands have successfully taken the plunge while brands in other categories still appear hesitant.

The success of media and e-tail brands’ plunge into iPad territory can be attributed to the fact that the most apparent use of the device is reading and viewing content as one does with magazines, catalogs or books. Key examples in publishing include The New Yorker and Wired, while in e-commerce, Gilt Groupe is an excellent example. The iPad offers a step up from the iPhone for e-tail brands and their consumers since it offers convenient purchasing on the device while the iPhone is primarily keyed for store locating.

But what about brands in other categories? The most apparent iPad route that most can think of to create apps is the iPhone way, and many brands are avoiding the investment. Some are sponsoring relevant existing apps created by developers. But aside from Kraft’s Big Fork Little Fork app and a handful of others, there aren’t any noteworthy ones out there yet.

Could it be that we may be thinking too narrowly of the iPad’s potential for brands? Are we mirroring things too much based on its predecessor, the iPhone?

When I downloaded a few magazines on the iPad back in July, I loved the way the ads for the same brand changed, based on whether I held the device vertically or horizontally – it offered two completely different views of the same products – something that can’t be done in print or as smoothly on a laptop. In addition, as I scrolled through magazine pages, the ads with voiceover definitely caught my attention. Moving along this route and also keeping in mind that trends thus far show that entertainment is currently the number one use for the iPad, perhaps brands should take a more novel and creative approach to things.

An excellent example of the untapped potential of this device is the recently announced iPad 3-D animation using light, created by communications agency Dentsu London. The video clip has since gone viral.

Another fact that brands must keep in mind is that instead of letting readers use their web or mobile version on the iPad (the iPad is sharper and resolution differences in the typeface are very apparent), they could incorporate the iPad into their design process, perhaps during their next redesign plans. An experiment conducted pre-and-post-iPad release by Zurich and Tokyo-based design firm Information Architects found that an app designed for the iPad, can with a few tweaks, easily work on a laptop.

All in all, the iPad is a growing platform, but one whose potential is only being uncovered slowly. Perhaps all it needs is more creativity. Brands must look to finding new ways to showcase themselves while capitalizing on the role the iPad is playing in consumer entertainment. In these days of falling and recovering economies, however, not everyone is ready to spend on experimenting.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the iPad. Are your business’ marketing communications being adapted for iPad? Why or why not?

About Rachna Sundaram

A digital media and marketing addict, Rachna’s love affair with the web began during the days when the Internet was being referred to as New Media. With a degree in Communications focused on “New Media Journalism” and an MBA focused in Marketing, Rachna was a reporter and web producer at Forbes, Inc. and then pursued a career in digital branding & communication. Her current range of activities include the role of Editor and Business Developer at http://SQUA.RE, a web-based luxury community start-up; Corporate Blogger with a focus on consumer experiences & behavior, and writing about all things digital for various online publications.

A well-structured nomad, Rachna has lived, studied & worked in south India, Chicago, NYC, Montreal & Paris, a track record that helps in understanding what makes different people (& consumers) click, online and offline. Follow her on Twitter: @Rachna2010

4 Responses to Despite Phenomenal Growth Brands Slow to Adopt iPad

  1. Anonymous says:

    I guess you missed this obvious article:
    http://adage.com/mediaworks/article?article_id=14

    • @djambazov says:

      There is a big difference between brands, pre-sold on the possibilities of the iPad, who participate in the launch of a product and perhaps even paid to be part of the rollout; and brands who decide whether or not to participate after a product is already in the marketplace. While the early adopters do contain some impressive brands they still only make up a small percentage of the major brands.

    • Rachna2010 says:

      Jumping in slightly late here, but the adage piece confirms what I had mentioned in my article: that the iPad is simply a more "natural," if you will, platform for media/publishing brands. Most of these brands comprise the early adopter category as Angel mentions below. The above piece focuses on brands outside of the media/publishing realms. How many consumer goods brands, for example, do you see adapting the same way?