Amazon may need to consider spending more to market the Kindle Fire, its forthcoming tablet. Only about a third (32%) of consumers surveyed by consumer electronics shopping site Retrevo correctly identified the device as a tablet computer from Amazon. The same proportion did not know what the Kindle Fire was, and 35% thought it was another Kindle e-reader.
Still, the study also offered hopeful signs for Amazon's entrance into the tablet market. It indicated that the $199 price for the Amazon tablet might help lure some people away from buying the iPad, which sells for $499. Of the 69% who said they are interested in buying a tablet or possibly learning more about them, 44% would be willing to consider the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire. And only 12% said they would not consider anything other than an iPad.
Retrevo did not ask about the newly unveiled 7-inch Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble, but at $249, it also represents a steep discount to the 10-inch iPad. At the Nook Tablet launch event this week, Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch made it clear that the company considers the Kindle Fire the main rival to its new device rather than the larger iPad.
While the Nook Tablet will hit stores only a few days after the Kindle Fire's November 15 debut, Amazon has the advantage of having announced its device in late September, giving the online retailer a head start in terms of publicizing and promoting its tablet, although it appears that Amazon still needs to boost awareness. Both companies have begun running TV spots for their respective tablets.
The study also suggested that existing tablet owners will be going back for more this holiday season. A fifth of tablet owners said they plan to buy an iPad, and an even higher proportion -- 27% -- plan to get a Kindle Fire. Since most tablet owners today have an iPad, that means more may want a Kindle Fire than another iPad. Among all those surveyed, 10% said they planned to buy an iPad, and 12%, a Kindle Fire. Forrester has projected that up to 5 million Kindle Fire devices could be sold before year's end.
But whether the Amazon tablet ends up taking significant share from the iPad is far from assured. “As popular as the Kindle Fire appears in this study, whether it lives up to expectations on things like battery life, performance, image quality, etc., the picture could get brighter or less bright for the Kindle Fire,” stated the Retrevo report.
The study's data came from an October survey of 1,000 U.S. online consumers conducted for Retrevo by an independent panel. Survey participants were distributed across gender, age, income and location.