Apple iPad 3 Poised to Sweep Tablet Market, Steal 50 Percent of Amazon Kindle Fire's Customers

The Apple iPad 3 is poised to sweep the tablet market and steal more than 50% of the Amazon Kindle Fire's customers, according to a new study.

The study by the deal-shopping site TechBargains.com found that nearly half of the potential Apple iPad 3 buyers it surveyed plan to purchase the new tablet when after its release, which is reportedly set to take place on March 7.

But even more surprising was the study's finding that more than 50 percent of the Amazon Kindle Fire's customers also plan to buy the iPad 3. The trend could have a major impact on Amazon's bottom line and tablet market share.

The findings come despite the fact that the Apple iPad 3 is slated to be signficantly more-expensive than the technically-inferior, $100 Amazon Kindle Fire, meaning that event current tablet owners are prepared to drop big dollars for new devices.

When it comes to tablets, Apple's iPad will continue to remain the leader, Yung Trang, president of TechBargains.com, said. But what's very interesting is that Kindle Fire was released just three months ago and yet more than half of Fire owners already know that they will, in fact, buy the iPad 3. This could be a commentary on consumer dissatisfaction with Amazon's product or simply a message that the iPad's user experience remains unparalleled.

About 58 percent of those surveyed said they plan to upgrade thir current tablets, but 16 percent say the iPad 3 will be too expensive to buy, while 35 percent have not determined whether or not they will purchase one. And 74 percent said that the iPad is the ultimate tablet. 

The Apple iPad 3 is more sought-after by men, 51 percent of whom said they want to purchase one, while only about 25 percent of the women surveyed want to buy one after it is released.

A study from IHS iSuppli Market Intelligence released last week estimated that Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads last quarter, up 40 percent over the number shipped in 2011's third quarter, but that the company's share of the worldwide tablet market fell from 64 percent to 57 percent in the same stretch.

Amazon was responsible for selling many of the tablets that made up the difference (the company shipped an estimated 3.9 million Kindle Fire tablets in Q4, earning the company 14.3 percent market share.) Q4 sales are seen as the most important of all for retailers, as it includes Black Friday, Thanksgiving and most importantly, Christmas. The Barnes & Noble Nook was also released in Q4 of 2011, and it sold 1.9 million units, making up 7 percent of the tablet market, according to IHS iSuppli.

Samsung was the previous king of tablets, but its station fell in the fourth quarter of 2011, when it sold only 2.1 million Galaxy Tab tablets. The company sold 6 million tablets total in 2011, IHS iSuppli reported.

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