Like the basketball hopeful unable to play in the NBA, rival tablet makers may find it easier to compete against U.S.-based Apple in Europe. The tech giant’s massive supply chain makes Europe’s 52 Apple stores a slightly easier target than America, where the iPad maker has 238 stores, analysts said Tuesday.
“There is this opportunity for iPad challengers, but the competition is very fragmented,” Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said. Competing with Apple “will require a different approach from what we’ve seen so far,” she adds.
In order to compete in Europe, tablet makers such as RIM, HP and Samsung will need to offer the right combination of content, price and sales distribution. The analyst says no iPad alternative provides all three.
The analyst said everyone agrees the initial 7-inch tablets were a flop. “Manufacturers, retailers and operators we spoke with all commented on the failure of the first 7-inch tablets that attempted to compete with the iPad,” she notes. Although there are several 10-inch alternative tablets (such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Acer Iconia Tab), they’re still at a disadvantage against the iPad in terms of sales distribution, she said.
Apple currently has 70 percent of the European tablet market with Europe expected to comprise 30 percent of global tablet sales. However, Europeans pay a premium for the iPad. The Apple entry-level iPad 2 costs $702 in Europe versus $499 in America. Spain has the highest level of tablet ownership with France the lowest, according to Forrester. Between 10 to 14 percent of Europeans expressed interest in purchasing a tablet with Germany the region with the highest level of tablet interest..