Kids between the age of 6-12 most desire Apple’s iPad, while the Surface comes in near the bottom.

Yesterday, my three-year-old son looked at a review copy of a Surface tablet sitting on my desk and asked this question: ‘Hey, what’s that iPad doing?”

The comment cracked me up, as it signaled just how deep Apple is entrenched in becoming the Kleenex brand of the tablet market. But it’s no laughing matter for Microsoft.

And now here’s more evidence of the fact that Microsoft has a serious uphill battle in the tablet market, especially when it comes to America’s youngest consumers. (And, as we all know, they are the ones who really shape buying patterns of parents).

A new study from Nielsen, which surveyed kids between the ages of 6-12, indicates that their most desirable gadget in the next six months is an iPad (48 percent). That’s up from 44 percent who wanted Apple’s tablet last year. (Gadget hound Andru Edwards of GearLive tried to convince me to buy an iPad Mini for my family on the GeekWire podcast last week).

Interestingly, four of the top five gadgets desired by this young demographic were Apple products.

That’s got to be incredibly concerning to Microsoft, whose Kinect for Xbox garnered a respectable 31 percent of the tally. However, the Surface — which is a brand new device and therefore has yet to gain much market or brand traction — was near the bottom of the barrel at just six percent.

Nonetheless, Apple’s brand penetration with young consumers under the age of 12 should be a huge concern to Microsoft. After all, if they can get a lock on this age group (and there’s a chance that some parents opt for lower-cost alternatives as my brother is considering with his kids with Google Chromebooks) then the chances the next-generation grows up in a Windows world becomes much more slim.

Just for comparison sake, here’s what the product breakdown looks for those over the age of 13.

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  • Guest

    MS has lost the consumer. And today’s consumer is tomorrow’s enterprise decision maker.

    • guest

      Yup, it’s a vicious cycle.

  • rick gregory

    The second graph shows an interesting bias. Note that the iPad and iPad Mini are broken out into two bars whereas the ‘other tablets’ are not. This gives the impression that ‘other tablets’ is close to iPad when it’s not. Combine iPad and iPad mini and it’s not 21% vs 19% but 33% vs 19%.

  • mel o dee

    Look, this speaks to Brand awareness more than actual purchasing.

    Yes, it’s the Kleenexization of tech toys and Apple wins on that front; but, (a) buying a 6-12 year old the most expensive device(s) is simply not going to happen in 98% of homes; and (b) 98% of kids won’t even be disappointed if they get a non-Apple brand product.

    In High Schools, iPhones are the new Uggs. Mocked by many. Consumers are fickle. And young consumers are the ficklest of the bunch.

  • Fmr Appl Shrhldr

    I remember when they called every copy made a Xerox as well, or it is a “Kodak” moment…. both companies on top at one point that lost focus of a shifting marketplace and technologies. MSFT has been guilty of it as well. Not to assume that Apple is going away, but if others are selling and all you get is the recognition of a brand name but no sale over time? They need to go through more inovation or everyone else will be riding the wave in.

    • guest

      Or when app providers viewed Windows as the must have platform. Technology is the ultimate adapt or die industry. If Apple rides its current success for a few more years instead of continuing to innovate and find new markets to conquer, it could find itself on the path that MS is on today.

    • Bill

      Apple already survived a near death experience and went on to reinvent itself several more times in just the past decade. So they understand the risk of complacency better than most and have demonstrated an ability to adapt, unlike many. They aren’t without challenges, obviously. But they’re still one of the better positioned companies in the industry. And the stock is cheap relative to even the most pessimistic growth assumptions. Whether that encourages some to buy or not is up to them. But it does provide some margin of safety versus other leaders like Amazon, which is priced for perfection and then some.

  • Michael Hazell

    You got a review copy of the Surface? Nice! I’m waiting for one for my website as well.

    In regards to the kid’s comment, it is quite funny and scary at the same time. Everything seems to be Apple these days, which is making Apple so rich it’s almost unbelievable. What’s also sad is that anything that comes close to an Apple product is likely going to get taken off of the shelves by an Apple lawsuit.

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