According to an October eye tracking study, the iPad mini beats out the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, and Nook HD in terms of consumer fixation, consumer recognition, and purchase intent.
This study, performed by EyeTrackShop, used the web cameras on 600 Americans' personal computers (with their consent, of course) to answer the question "How are new mini tablets perceived by consumers?"
Here's a graphic representing what the study found, in terms of where consumers are actually looking when they look at tablets (click to enlarge):
From left to right, the tablets shown are the Nexus 7, iPad mini, Kindle Fire HD, and Nook HD. The tablets were placed next to each other in a randomized order for each study respondent. This image shows the areas of interest on each screen according to the eye track results.
Here is the same image, this time shown as a heat map. The areas in red are the most looked-at areas of the screens.
The study showed that the respondents fixated 5 percent more on the iPad mini, recognized the iPad mini 23 percent more, and that the iPad mini created a 40 percent higher purchase intent than the other three mini tablets.
Despite these statistics, the Nook had the largest high-heat area of interest, meaning respondents fixated on a larger area of the screen. The Nexus 7 had the smallest high-heat area, with the iPad mini and Kindle Fire having similar sized high-heat areas.
When presented with the four screens at once, respondents tended to look at the Kindle Fire first, then the Nexus 7, then the iPad, and finally the Nook.
So while the iPad mini is recognized by 73 percent of consumers (23 percent more than the average of the tablets), respondents still fixated on a larger area of the Nook, and noticed the Kindle Fire first.
It's evidence that Apple has managed to create an extremely loyal consumer base that sticks to its products, and shuns other company's products, no matter how similar they may be.
Given the choice, over 50 percent of the respondents said they would choose the iPad mini over the others if they were shopping for a tablet, according to EyeTrackShop. That's 40 percent higher than the other tablets.