According to an exit poll of shoppers at Apple’s flagship Regent Street store in the UK quite a bit has changed since a year ago when crowds formed to buy the iPad 2.
When the doors of the store opened this morning at 7:58 a.m. there were 397 people waiting to get in. That’s quite a bit less than a year ago when 632 people were waiting for the iPad 2 and a bit less than the 451 who queued up for the original iPad in 2010, according to Dynamics PR, the London-based public relations firm that polled shoppers at the store for all three launches.
More interesting than the number of shoppers though is the change in the reasons given for buying the iPad.
For example, asked what the killer feature or most important reason for buying the new iPad was, 61% said it was the new high res Retina display.
But as general reason for buying, the biggest reason at 45% is browsing the web. Last year the most popular reason given by those polled at the store was gaming (33%). This year, most people bought the iPad to browse the web (45%). Last year, the no. 1 reason to buy the iPad 2 was gaming (33%).
Many of these early bird shoppers also have fairly demanding requirements. A majority of those polled (57%) said they were buying the Black 64GB Wi-Fi + 4G version of the iPad. The iPad 2’s most popular model was the 16GB Wifi model, and for the original iPad the most popular was the 32GB Wifi model.
“The surprising difference in this year’s iPad launch compared to other years is the actual number of people queuing. It’s significantly less than previous years. Whether that means pre-orders have been more successful, or selling in other retail stores takes some of this burden only Apple would be able to answer,” said Paul Cockerton, co-founder and director of Dynamo PR. “What it definitely does show is that Apple might need to add something new to what’s been a fairly predictable launch, both in terms of the fan-fair behind it and the actual product.”