Aaron Shapiro sees a lot of interesting data as the CEO of Huge, one of the Big Apple’s top digital agencies. The jetsetting Mr. Shapiro just made the Crain’s 2011 “40 Under 40” list of New York’s young business leaders. His firm oversees campaigns and website redesigns for CNN, Reuters and Pepsi. And right now, Mr. Shapiro said, “The tablet market is the top of my mind.”
This holiday season tectonic changes are expected in the tablet market, with Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet going on sale at $199. “We have a giant client with millions of unique monthly visitors. Right now the no. 2 browser is the iPad, which really portends the future of internet consumption. Right now, the biggest barrier is clearly price. Amazon can change all that,” Mr. Shapiro told Betabeat by phone.
Mr. Shapiro is the author of the forthcoming book– Users, Not Customers–being published next week by Penguin. “To be successful in this new world, companies have to find ways to engage their potential customers on the internet, which is where they are making their decisions about what to buy and even completing most of those purchases,” he said.
The last decade is littered with giants who missed the boat on this. “Look at what happened to Blockbuster. Instead of figuring out the best way to reach their market through the internet, they hired Enron as their technology provider. True story.”
J.P. Morgan just revised its sales estimates for the Kindle Fire to up to five million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. Amazon, which will be offering the Kindle Fire at $199, is expected to lose money on every unit, unlike Apple, which books a healthy profit on the iPad. But Amazon knows it can drive massive amounts of media consumption through these devices, dollars that will flow right through their bookstore, e-commerce and streaming video platforms.
“If you look at the pre-sale numbers for the Kindle Fire and the trends we’re seeing in terms of traffic, it’s easy to image that six months to a year from now, the majority of consumer web browsing will be done on a tablet,” Mr Shaprio said. “That’s a bigger shift than anything we have experienced with a mass audience since the dawn of the PC era. Companies need to be ready to reach those users.”