NPD: PC Sales Down? Don't Blame the iPad

laptop The PC market might be on the decline, but don't blame the iPad, according to new data from NPD Group.

Among those who bought an iPad in the first six months after its debut, only 14 percent dropped plans to buy a PC in order to acquire the popular Apple tablet. That dropped to 12 percent by the holiday season, and cannibalization of netbooks is now down 50 percent among more recent iPad buyers, NPD said.

"The explosion of computer sales when Windows 7 launched, as well as the huge increase in netbook sales at that time, are much more to blame for weak consumer PC sales growth than the iPad," Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a statement. "Overall it appears that the vast majority of iPad purchases to-date have been incremental to the consumer technology industry."

It seems that people are looking to buy Windows-based notebooks that are under $500; that segment grew 21 percent between October 2010 and March 2011, NPD said. Sales of PCs over $500, meanwhile, dropped 25 percent in the same time period.

"The conventional wisdom that says tablet sales are eating into low-priced notebooks is most assuredly incorrect," Baker said.

If anything, the iPad has helped boost a sagging tech sector, especially when it comes to accessories. About 75 percent of people who bought themselves an iPad had no intention of buying anything else, so their purchase didn't really hurt PC sales. About 83 percent, meanwhile, bought an accessory, helping retailers and manufacturers beyond Apple. In the pre-Smart Cover era, about 50 percent of buyers bought non-Apple covers and cases, and 60 percent of screen protectors were not from Cupertino.

In terms of iPad sales, extending them to additional retailers didn't have a huge impact; 3/4 of all iPads were sold at Best Buy and Apple over the holiday season. Carriers sold 3 percent of iPads.

Interestingly, many people went for the Wi-Fi-only version; sales of the non-3G iPads jumped 33 percent to nearly one-in-three during the holidays, NPD said.

"Consumers just do not see the utility in 3G connectivity," said Baker. "There's an added expense for the device and for the service, something a majority of iPad owners aren't willing to pay. Since most iPads rarely venture away from home the value of a 3G connection is likely to diminish, especially as other tablets enter the market and pricing starts to fall. When every penny counts, features that aren't core to the user becoming increasingly marginalized as manufacturers fight for every sale."

In a recent study from Nielsen, about 77 percent of tablet owners said they now use the device on tasks for which they previously used their laptop or desktop computer.

Source : PCmag

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