Retrevo: how not to interpret data

Retrevo's Pie ChartsRetrevo claims to have data that shows that after the iPad Launch, product awareness went from 48% aware, 3% intending to buy to 82% aware and 9% intending to buy. Their take on this is that the “aware but not planning to buy” went from 26% to 52%. Oh no!

This is idiocy. (I was tempted to make fun of retrevo’s name … but why bother?)

To begin with, having 48% awareness and 3% planning to buy for an unannounced product is insanely good. “No and not interested” went from 35% to 18%, which means of the 26% increase in “Yes but I don’t want it”, it’s reasonably safe to assume 17% were previously “No and I won’t buy it” and 9% were “No but I’m interested”. Apple converted 6% of the 36% who were either aware and interested or unaware and interested into planning to buy.

By way of comparison, on May 1 2007, Electronista declared that Survey: many want, few will buy iPhone:

A study of 1,300 people who both own and pay for their cellphones has shown that 77 percent of survey takers were at least partly aware of the iPhone — a feat before the actual launch, the researchers say — only 6 percent of those who responded said they were likely to commit to buying the device within the next year. Two thirds of respondents were even certain that they wouldn’t buy the phone with what they knew.

So, several months after the very well-received launch, a survey showed that of 1300 “qualified” respondents (i.e. people who own and pay for their own cellphones), only 6% planned to buy and 2/3 were certain they wouldn’t buy. Now, as you no doubt recall, the iPhone turned out to be an absolute disaster for Apple and is no longer even on the market, but the iPad’s figures are slightly better (9% of “people” plan to buy, and slightly over half won’t), so maybe it has a shot. Who knows?

In June 2008, TechOn, a Japanese tech site, reported that 91% of Japanese would not buy iPhone. Of course, we all know how the iPhone failed miserably in Japan.

So — I’m having trouble figuring out how any of this is bad for Apple or the iPad.