“Apple went from 3.42% share at the end of 2008 to 5.6% share today excluding the iPad or 17.6% including the iPad. HP went from 19.3% in 2008 to 16% today or 13% if iPad is included.” (via Asymco)
Every industry likes to measure its performance but the choice of metrics can cause business strategy to become disconnected from user reality.
Case in point: last week a debate emerged on Twitter as to whether Apple is now the world’s largest personal computer manufacturer, measured by volume. As the above summary from Asymco shows, the outcome is very different depending on whether the iPad is classified as a personal computer.
The briefest real world observations of user behaviour provide a definite answer to this question much more quickly than any amount of Twitter banter. In almost every household I’ve observed, the iPad rapidly becomes the family’s ‘go to’ personal computing device, superseding phones and supplanting the machines formerly known as PCs.
While it may be inconvenient for the neat, outdated models built by industry analysts where PCs are familiar boxes with keyboards or laptops, the personal computing reality for users is evolving swiftly. The direction is inexorably towards light, thin, wireless, touchscreen slates of varying sizes, which are faster and more convenient for the majority of digital interactions.
If, as a business, your strategy is still built around competing on today’s metrics – defined by analysts who rarely spend any time observing users – you’re almost guaranteed to miss the next major shift in customer behaviour. That, of course, also means missing out on the high profit margins which come with pioneering a new category.
Something to think about when evaluating whether your annual research budgets are better spent on tracking your competitors or getting closer to end users?