iPad Responsible For Stealing Market Share From Netbooks
Despite their popularity for several years, netbooks are slowly but surely going down. There are two reasons for this. First of all, because of the recession, most likely, the prices of notebooks have gone down. Some people opted for a netbook because an ultraportable laptop with better performance was considerably more expensive than they would’ve liked to spend. Now, that ceases to be a problem. Secondly, Apple launched the iPad, and along with it, the trend of the tablet computer, which is about to invade the market, much like netbooks did several years ago.
So if you’d like, the netbook might eventually be replaced by tablets. According to a report from DisplaySearch, netbook sales have gone down in the second quarter of the year. During the period, the iPad stole a pretty big slice of market share from netbooks. For the record, Apple’s tablet was released in April and over 3.3 million units were sold until June. That’s a pretty impressive number and it lets us know that this type of portable computer was well received by consumers. Without the iPad, the sales of mini-notebooks and other tablet computers combined would’ve been down about 14 percent compared to the first quarter of 2010, and 12 percent year over year. Informatioweek also mentions that with the iPad, overall shipments were down only 4 percent quarter to quarter, but increased with 29 percent compared to a year back. That’s not bad. Of course, DisplaySearch has an odd way of classifying a netbook. It’s a mini-notebook with a clamshell form factor and a display size ranging between 7 and 10.2 inches. This makes you wonder about all of those 11 inch netbooks currently to be found on the market. Tablets other than the iPad were also included in the report but they seem to represent a small portion of the market and that’s no wonder because there weren’t that many of them released to begin with.
These results were also recorded considering the fact that Apple couldn’t really keep up with the demand for iPads. If it weren’t for the seven to ten business day shipment times, perhaps things would’ve been a bit different and the iPad would’ve sold even more. The availability of the tablet limited the sales numbers as well. There are many countries where the device still isn’t available for sale.
So did the iPad affect the sales of netbook that bad? Yes it did. John F. Jacobs, director of notebook market research at DisplaySearch stated that “The first quarter of 2010 signaled the birth of the tablet PC, and possibly by extension, the beginning of the end of the mini-note market, especially in developed regions.” Netbooks were so popular because they were extremely cheap to buy. Let’s face it, this is the simple truth. Most of them could be found under the $500 price tag, and if you looked well enough you could even find one for under $300. We’re talking about a brand new computer here. It’s true, not with a lot of performance and you’d be stuck with a small screen, annoyingly tiny keyboard and touch pad. Once the first tablet showed its bright, colorful and finger-controllable touch screen display, all that for a price that was a small bit over the one of a higher-quality netbook, people became interested. Browsing the web while in bed, without having to sit up or handle an annoyingly heavy laptop on your chest, suddenly became possible. People loved it. And things are bound to get even worse. A whole army of tablets are preparing to ship towards stores.
Samsung has one, the Galaxy Tab. RIM has recently unveiled the Playbook and Motorola is believed to join in the fun as well. HP, Acer, they’ll all follow, as soon as they can figure out the design, hardware, software and other such aspects. As a conclusion, consumers are now demanding options to the iPad and as soon as they’ll get it, they’ll probably forget about netbooks. The tablet will be the new gadget to have. Just as DisplaySearch announced back in June (and as some of us could figure out by ourselves and paying attention to how the market evolves), iPad has snagged a lot of market share from netbooks. All that’s left to see is if and how fast the little colorful laptops will go down and how many companies decide to drop manufacturing them and switch to tablets.11