eReaders are hot. In the past year, the market for eReaders has finally taken off. Forrester estimates that by the end of 2009, the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader Digital Book hit the 1 million mark in combined US sales.
But what will drive mainstream adoption? Consumers want lower prices, more and cheaper content, and love to see in person how an eReader looks, feels, and reads.
Apple's announcements yesterday were mostly focused on iTunes and adding a video camera to the Nano (beautiful device by the way - shape, colors, form factor, weight (lessness) - blew me away). There were a couple of interesting things that came out about the iPhone platform though.
A few of the facts:
30 million iPhones sold to date
20 million iPod Touch devices with about 225 million iPods sold to date in all with 50% to new customers (wow!)
1.8 billion downloads of more than 75,000 available applications
100 million billing relationships with credit cards ... this impresses me the most and is what I consider to be one of their important competitive advantages
You've got to be hating life if you're a videocamera maker like Sony or Kodak and you've just been bested yet again. First, it was the immensely successful Flip video cameras that sold more than 2 million devices without a significant brand name simply because the camera was so darn easy to use. ( Personal anecdote, I recently spent a day at a major CE maker with a group of industry analysts -- they let us try their new Flip camera competitor and one of the smartest guys in the room couldn't figure out how to turn it on. Said a nearby analyst: "Hmmm, no wonder Flip beat them to this market.")
Now the game just got more complicated because Apple has decided to add video camera capability not to the iPod Touch line, but to its Nano iPods. Pause for reverential awe. This was a brilliant move. (see Wired's take on it here).
Not only because it hits Flip in a sensitive spot -- right in the high school and college market where Flip was such a hit -- but because it further disrupts the videocamera market, opening it to more innovation and rapid change. You no longer have the three tiers of videocameras (disc or tape storage, digital decent, and then your lousy phone camera), instead, you have a fourth competitor. A personal media device that is now capable of actual personal media. Oh, and did I mention it's made by Apple? Right, just checking.
Video on Demand (VOD) has been a disappointment. As offered by most cable systems, video on demand should have made it easier for you to rent movies for home viewing than Blockbuster or Hollywood ever could because you never have to leave the house to get a VOD movie. But most VOD systems have failed to delight customers for reasons I won't get into right now other than to say that even if the movie selection is decent, the interface to find the movies is terrible. So most people don't use VOD.
Apple saw this opportunity and assumed its iTunes music business could easily extend into video, first with a pay-per-download model (one I first wrote about in 2007, explaining why it would not work -- I was right), and eventually with a VOD model, once the content owners could see their way to taking that plunge. But the iTunes VOD business relies on people buying Apple devices -- something millions of people do -- and people wanting to watch movies on those devices -- sadly, something far fewer people do.
This has caused me to encourage Apple to port its iTunes video service to non-Apple devices that are connected to the TV. I wrote about this a few times recently, explaining that video services need to connect to the TV to have a chance and that LG and Samsung Blu-ray players (and more recenlty, connected TVs) were doing that quite well. It would be a natural fit for iTunes to deliver content to those devices. But, alas, that's not how Apple rolls, as the Cupertino company prefers to make its money from high-margin devices.
I'm really interested in getting readers perspectives on why customer satisfaction research is so hot?
One thing that has constantly amazed me since I became an Analyst at Forrester Research, is the overwhelming interest in all things concerning customer satisfaction research. Easily a third of my inquiries are about how to design such studies, how to improve what they have, what are the issues with multinational studies, and how to deal with new concepts such as NetPromoter.
Even in this dire market, it seems that customer satisfaction studies are one of growth area in market research (according to Inside Research).
My question to my readers is this: are MROCs the next big thing in market research, and will they eventually take measurable share form traditional qualitative research?
It is an old story.
A new mode of research comes along, and the existing research world gives it a giant raspberry.
It happened when phone pushed out face-to-face interviews for quant in the US in the 70's (What about selection bias! It can't possibly be as projectable!). It happened in the late 90's and early 2000's with online panels (What about selection bias?! What about professional survey takers?! What about response bias and poorly constructed panels?!).
It's interactive, you can select country/region of origin, and you can look at actual size of the population as well as percentage. Anybody interested in researching and targeting ethnic audiences should check this out! Compliments to Matthew Bloch and Robert Gebeloff of the NYT for putting this together.
We’ll kick of The Data Digest with a graphic on what US 12 to 17 year olds regularly use their cells for, next to making calls obviously. SMS and MMS are the most popular activities, while only a quarter of them use their phone for IM or email. For youngsters, the phone serves as a substitute for a digital camera – about 2 in 3 phone owners takes pictures with their phone at least once a month while less than half (46%) of US youth regularly use a digital camera.
This blog is now up and running for about a month, and I want to thank everyone for visiting us, sharing your feedback with us, and keeping us on our toes. From today onwards we’re introducing a new recurring element to the site: The Data Digest. Every Friday we’ll publish a graphic ranking consumers' attitudes or behaviors on a specific topic.
In the next weeks we’ll cover topics like Social Network sites used, financial products owned, PC activities, online activities, health issues reported, mobile features interested in, etc, etc. The data could be from any of the regions we cover with Technographics but with an emphasis on the US and Europe.
Please reach out with any suggestions on possible topics.