A February ChangeWave survey on future demand for tablet devices bodes well for Apple’s iPad, even though over a hundred rival devices are coming its way. The research firm surveyed 3,091 consumers in February – before Apple announced iPad 2 – in an effort to discover their future tablet buying habits, which is usually a tell-tale sign of the popularity of competing devices in the marketplace.

The results confirm that tablets remain in high demand as more than one in four respondents (27 percent) said their future buying plans include a tablet, a two percentage point increase over ChangeWave’s survey in November of last year.

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Tablets are also cannibalizing e-readers, netbooks and – surprise, surprise, notebooks. Asked whether they would put off purchasing other products to get a tablet, 17 percent will cancel plans to buy a Kindle (nine percent for other e-reading devices). Ten and eleven percent say they’ve put off plans to buy a new netbook and laptop, respectively.

Only one in twenty respondents, or five percents, plan on purchasing a tablet in the next 90 days, but a whopping 82 percent of them will opt for an iPad versus just three percent for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.

The results contrast much lower scores for Motorola’s Xoom and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook that won four and three percent, respectively, of future tablet buyers. Note these devices were not released yet at the time of the survey.

Also playing to Apple’s favor is customer satisfaction, with 70 and 25 percent of respondents being Very Satisfied and Somewhat Satisfied, respectively, with their iPads.

Other tidbits:
  • 17 percent of planned iPad purchases belong to Verizon, a two percentage points higher than in November
  • 24 percent of future iPad buyers will be using AT&T’s service, a three percentage points decline from November
  • of those who plan on using their iPad with AT&T’s wireless service, only four percent will buy the gizmo from the carrier (Apple: 16 percent, Best Buy/Wal-Mart/Target: four percent)

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