Developers take note – carrier subsidy should help Apple shift a lot more iPads

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Reading A Google eBook On My iPad

The iPad might be one of the most sought after gadgets this Christmas but for many, its high price is a definite deal breaker.

That’s before you factor in carrier subsidy, says a new report from global research and technology firm Vision Critical which reveals that subsidised iPad offers, such as those recently announced by three of the four UK mobile operators, are likely to “significantly accelerate adoption”.

According to the survey, which polled 2,004 British adults, this will be particularly true amongst younger consumers who will be most keen to take up the offer of a ‘free’ iPad, even if it is in return for a lengthy and costly mobile broadband subscription.

Specifically, Vision Critical’s research found that 13% of people surveyed would be likely or very likely to get a ‘free’ iPad on a £45 monthly contract deal, whereas at the current purchase price of £529, only 4.5% are likely to buy.

This predicted increase in take-up, of course, will be music to the ears of those developing versions of their apps for the iPad or startups building businesses around services and wares targeting new consumption habits enabled by Apple’s device and tablets in general.

Here’s a break down of carrier subsidy sweet spots, according to the survey:

Of note, the likelihood to take-up the offer of a ‘free’ iPad on a £45 monthly contract rises significantly among 18-34 year olds to 21%.

Gina Lagos, Senior Research Director in Vision Critical’s London office, comments: “The iPad has generated enormous share of mind among UK consumers but uptake has been constrained by its premium price. Contract-based subsidies by mobile operators can reduce this barrier and help accelerate growth in the emerging tablet category.”

  • Scott Allison

    I’m sure this is broadly correct, but I don’t believe their numbers for the contract free option which I think they’ve manipulated. If you buy it at full price why on earth would you pay £15 a month on top? That’s crazy. You can get PAYG or contract connectivity for a lot less than that. They also should have asked how many people would pay £429 for the wifi version and nothing extra on top. I guess most people go for that?

    • Steve O'Hear

      That’s a fair point but the broad take-away is: Brits are up for subsidised iPads on lengthy contracts.

  • Rodolfo

    If you don’t have an iPad by now then you’re probably not the audience TechCrunch readers care about.

    On the other hand I did look up Vision Critical and they seem interesting in their approach in crowdsourced market research (did it get it right? it’s 4am and cant be bothered much). Can you do a piece on them and how startups could benefit from crowdsourced marketing/design etc? Gigaom did a piece few weeks ago but was US-centric.

  • Erick

    So, that many people would rather be forced to pay £720 in extra fees for the next 2 years so they can save £530 on an iPad? That’s pretty illogical unless they can’t get a line of credit better than 30% per annum (in which case making payments on an iPad is probably living beyond their means).

    Well, that’s consumer behaviour for you…

  • Laura Lovely

    Yeah, this is a good development

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