The final numbers from an iMac buyer's poll show some encouraging signs for Apple Computer's stylish new Macintosh.
ComputerWare, the nation's largest Mac-only retailer, conducted a survey of 500 new iMac customers who bought the PC from August 15 through August 27.
Final numbers show that first-time buyers constitute nearly one of every six iMac buyers, and among those who bought an iMac to replace an existing computer, 12 percent said they were replacing or adding to an existing Windows-Intel compatible computer.
Other key findings show that for 39 percent, simplicity was a critical factor. Apple has based its ad campaign on how simple the iMac is to use.
Age also played a part. The survey indicated that the largest number of users appears to be a much older Apple customer than historically shown. Twenty-eight percent of family members using the iMac are 50 or older.
The survey was conducted by Los Gatos, California, market research firm Market Metrics.
Analysts have postulated that the iMac is going to be a tough sell beyond the Mac's aficionados in any large numbers. But the survey, although based on a relatively small sample, suggests that Apple has a good chance to expand its user base by selling to new customers in addition to its current installed base.
Indeed, assuming this trend continues and the percentages hold up, if Apple sells 400,000 iMacs by the end of the year--which is at the lower end of analyst estimates--that would translate into about 50,000 units shipped to "converted" Windows users. If first-time buyers are included, that would jump to 120,000 users who have been won over to the Macintosh.
By contrast, Apple's fastest selling system was the G3 Macintosh, which shipped 133,000 units in just under two months, mostly to its installed base. Such growth in new markets is essential for the long-term health of the Macintosh platform.