How Big a Cannibal is Apple’s iPad Mini?

Fears that that the iPad mini will cannibalize sales of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) fourth-generation iPad are unfounded, according to a new survey. On the contrary, the smaller tablet will more likely cuts into sales of devices from Apple’s rivals or find new buyers altogether.

The survey, conducted by analyst firm Cowen and Co., found that of those planning to buy an iPad mini within the next 18 months, only 16.6 percent were getting the device to replace another tablet. And only 29 percent of that smaller percentage said that the tablet they were replacing was an iPad. According to the survey, 42 percent of iPad mini buyers were planning to replace a Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows PC, while another 13 percent were replacing an Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire. Almost 52 percent of would-be iPad mini buyers didn’t currently own a tablet.

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“The iPad mini creates more demand than it cannibalizes,” Cowen analyst Matthew Hoffman wrote in the note accompanying the survey results. “Since 52 percent of the mini intenders in our sample did not own a tablet of any type, we see it successfully positioned as likely to penetrate new entry-tier segments … Mini will no doubt take some iPad 4 sales, but its low price also looks like an important tool to capture new consumers’ attention.”

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a note to investors last month that the iPad mini was likely to have a 20 percent cannibalization rate. Last week, he added a new comment saying that 90 percent of customers waiting in line to buy one of the two new Apple tablets who were surveyed by him were looking to get the iPad mini.

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