A survey Kindle owners will like and iPad owners won't

If you own a Kindle 3 or pretty much any Kindle you might quite like a new survey from Nielsen.

The standard disclaimer applies: Surveys mean nothing – especially surveys where a mere 400 iPad owners were surveyed. While it might be true that Kindle owners are richer, smarter, and less gullible than iPad owners it might also not be true.

What does Nielsen’s Survey say about Kindle owners vs iPad owners?

Actually, quite a lot and most of it is politically incorrect –

  1. 65% of iPad owners are men. For Kindle 48% of owners are women. This is surprising because in my opinion there are more women who own the Kindle than men.
  2. 63% of iPad owners are under 35. For Kindle it’s 45%. This also seems a little off – In my opinion 30% or less of Kindle owners are below 35.
  3. Kindle buyers tend to be wealthier.  The best response to this was a comment that said – It’s because they haven’t spent all their money on the iPad and its accessories.
  4. Kindle owners are described as better educated. This seems pretty obvious.
  5. iPad owners are described as more prone to advertising. Really? That’s so hard to believe.  

    Someone with an iPad is moreover considered significantly more likely to buy something as a result of seeing an ad on the tablet. 

The susceptibility to advertising is supposedly not even close –

iPad owners tend to be more receptive to advertising; 39% say ads on their connected device are new and interesting (compared with 19% of all connected device owners),

and 46% say they enjoy ads with interactive features (compared with 27% of the rest).

If iPad owners are roughly twice as susceptible to advertising as other device owners that would mean … No, surely … Could it be that they are the people most likely to buy the flashiest, best advertised, best marketed product?

 There’s also this comment from David (he’s only joking, from Fortune) –

Does the fact that iPad users are more receptive to advertising and are more likely to have made a purchase as a result of seeing an ad mean that they are more likely to get lulled into buying a product that they don’t need?

After all, everyone said that no-one needs an iPad before they came out.

Thanks to Electronista for sharing this survey (which Apple sites are understandably reluctant to discuss) and for this particular comment –

Apple users are susceptible to a lot of things. The SJ-RDF being one of them.

SJ-RDF = Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field.

The most interesting takeaway for me is the susceptibility to advertising that iPad owners supposedly demonstrate.

If iPad owners are easily influenced …

It would mean –

  1. Apple would probably be able to sell really expensive advertising. Actually, it does – through iAds.  
  2. Google would be interested in a share. Actually, it is and it bought the biggest iPhone advertising network, AdMob, for $750 million.
  3. Advertising might have played a crucial role in iPad owners buying an iPad. Who knows?  
  4. Making the iPad seem like a huge hit and showing ‘large crowds and long lines’ and ‘delaying availability’ were absolutely essential parts of the sales strategy. Perhaps they were.
  5. Apple must spend a lot of money on advertising. It does.
  6. Apple must have amongst the best ads. It does.
  7. Apple has wrapped up the exact demographic that advertisers hunger after. It probably has.

All signs point to Apple wrapping up this magical customer group that is pretty susceptible to advertising and rather impressionable and young and male and not as educated as other device owners.

You couldn’t find a better group of consumers if you wanted to sell a non-stop stream of devices whose main USP was making the owner cool and signalling status and drawing attention from the opposite sex.

Is it really a surprise that Kindle owners are smarter and wealthier?

Let’s be quite honest here – No one was expecting people who throw birds at pigs to be smarter than people who read books.

The wealthier part is a bit surprising until you consider that being able to spend $499 on a device isn’t as indicative of wealth as it is of wanting to appear well-off. Every Apple product is a status indicator at some level and it’s usually people who aspire to be rich who want such things.

Also, if one person is spending their free time reading and getting smarter and learning skills and the other is spending their free time learning how best to throw a yellow bird at a group of green pigs who do you think is going to end up making more money?

If this survey is accurate (and there’s not enough data to say) it would indicate that –

  1. Apple is wrapping up the people most susceptible to advertising.
  2. It’s overloading them with apps and TV and movies and music and a thousand distractions to make them even more confused. It’s basically making sure they stay susceptible to advertising.
  3. It’s building them up as a revenue chain. The progression from flashy mp3 player to flashy phone to flashy tablet is a rather worrying one and we might end up in a world where most of the ‘susceptible to advertising’ people end up being Apple customers and stay that way thanks to the devices keeping them in a permanently distracted state.

It really is like a massive social experiment – Let’s find the most susceptible/easily influenced people and keep them that way.

It’s just a survey though – It’s probably totally inaccurate and iPad owners are smart and intelligent and mostly women and don’t care about appearance and only own an iPad because it’s a revolution in computing and absolutely indispensable if you want to be productive.

7 thoughts on “A survey Kindle owners will like and iPad owners won't”

  1. What does the survey say about those of us who own both?

    I’ve never understood the almost tribal either/or attitude some have to these two totally different devices? The iPad is a great portable Mac. The Kindle is a great e-reader. Both are lousy at trying to masquerade as the other.

    Coming soon: apples versus oranges — which fruit do wealthy female over-45-year-olds prefer?

    1. Exactly! Thank you.

      Although, I read on both. I love that they interact. I read on the Kindle during the day and my place is all saved on my iPad for reading in bed without a book light at night. In the morning my place is right there to read on the Kindle. A perfect set up.

  2. Re the surprise they’d “find” (in a limited survey) that more men than women own Kindles or that Kindle owners are younger than thought, I think we can get a somewhat bent picture of this because most info we see from other Kindle owners, besides the ones we know in ‘real’ life, are from forums where the talkers tend to be those with more leisure time to post (house-focused wives and older, retired people) or who are especially keen about talking about their/our Kindles.

    When reading comments in gadget or newspaper sites online, I’ve noticed most of the Kindle owners commenting in those areas are male. On Kindle forums, mostly female.

    Coffee clatch syndrome? vs gadget/news interest? Very hard to say.

  3. I own and love my I pad. I am female, in my 50’s, neither rich nor poor, a college graduate, and insulted by your ignorance. Whoops, that’s O.K., you can be ignorant, I’m not!

  4. So because I own an iPad, according to you, I’m a silly, gullible, frivolous person trying to appear well-off. I also happen to be a woman, own a Kindle 3 as well as an iPad, and I spend 20+ hours a week reading 1-3 books a week (on my Kindle) in addition to a ton of tech/gadget blogs and newspapers (on my iPad). What does that say about me?

    I’ve been reading your blog for months since I got my first Kindle and I enjoy your insights on Amazon, Apple, the publishing industry, etc. However, you seem to have this “Us vs. Them” mentality when it comes to Kindle and iPad owners. You need to quit lumping us all into mutually exclusive categories and realize people don’t fall into neat little piles the way you

    1. The survey says that. It’s by Nielsen – you can find them at Nielsen.com if you want to protest the survey.

      Update: None of us care a bit about the iPad. It’s the iPad people that keep bringing up ‘we’re the best reading device’ nonsense.

      eReaders are very happy to be in the exploding eReader market. It’s all these tablet people who’re trying to steal readers.

  5. Well, I must say I “feel” smarter than my younger, dumber, less read iPad addicted kids, nieces and nephews. But then that’s not saying much since their generation gets most of its education from watching graphic murder on TV and in video games. The sad part is so many of these these testosteronoids have joined the military, probably because they instinctively think they have several re-spawns if they get KIA.

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