March 24, 2010, 12:00 AM

Online shoppers have their eyes on Apple’s new iPad

Consumer demand for electronic books readers is growing rapidly, and Amazon and Sony are still the leaders. But two-thirds of online shoppers have researched Apple’s new iPad tablet on the web, and 1% have preordered it, comScore says.

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Consumer demand for electronic books readers is growing rapidly, and Amazon.com Inc. and Sony Corp. are still the leaders. But two-thirds of online shoppers have researched Apple Inc.’s new iPad tablet on the web, and 1% have preordered it, according to a new survey by comScore Inc.

“The tablet and e-reader market is developing at a breakneck pace right now, and Apple’s entry into the market is sure to accelerate mainstream consumer adoption,” says Serge Matta, comScore executive vice president.

Apple has set an April 3 U.S. release date for the iPad, which can be used to read electronic books and publications, watch video, browse the web and for other purposes. And consumers want to know more about it. 66% of Internet users have sought information on Apple’s newest darling online, the survey shows. This compares with 69% for the Amazon Kindle, 65% for the Sony Reader, 63% for Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook and 58% for the Samsung Papyrus.

 

But the multimedia iPad may not be as much a threat to dedicated e-book readers like the Kindle as some have predicted, the survey of 2,176 Internet users shows. Only 37% of those surveyed say they would be likely to use an iPad for reading e-books while 28% say they would be unlikely to do so.

The survey confirms that Amazon and Sony still hold the lion’s share of the market for devices that can read electronic books, newspapers and magazines. 6% of Internet users own an Amazon Kindle e-reader and 4% own a Sony Reader, the comScore Inc. survey shows. 2% own a Barnes & Noble Inc. Nook, 1% own a Samsung Papyrus and 1% have pre-ordered the Apple Inc. iPad.

 

 

“These devices have the potential to be incredibly disruptive to the way consumers currently access digital content,” says comScore’s Matta. “While only time will tell exactly how consumer behavior will change, our research suggests that not only will a variety of markets be impacted by the introduction of these devices but also that there are substantial opportunities for those in the digital content ecosystem.”

Barnes & Noble is No. 41.

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