Notebook sales stay strong through back to school: NPD Group

The numbers are in for the 2010 back to school IT buying season and, according to data from market research form NPD Group, portable form factors remained popular choices for students this fall.

The message that stands-out from the numbers said Darrel Ryce, director, information technology and entertainment with NPD, is that reports of the death of the notebook have been greatly exaggerated.

“The traditional notebook market did well in the back to school time period, up more than 20 per cent in sales versus last year,” said Ryce. “We’ve seen lots of stories about the demise of the notebook as we know it today; this really goes in the face of that.”

Over the last six months, Ryce said he’s been hearing a lot about how the Apple iPad and other tablets will be taking over from notebooks, but at this point the numbers show that, even with increasing tablet sales, the notebook remain healthy.

“When you see the notebook market going so strong you can make the assumption tablets aren’t cannibalizing it to any great degree,” said Ryce.

The same can’t be said for netbooks however, which experienced a sales drop of 25 per cent in the back to school period, year over year.

“Netbooks saw very strong growth since their introduction but may have reached their potential,” said Ryce. “It’s not seen as a growing market anymore.”

While netbooks were a disappointment, Ryce said desktops turned-in an encouraging back to school performance, with a sales increase of over 30 per cent, year over year. And it’s not the low-end desktops that are selling either. NPD reports the average desktop selling price in August was $825, up from $775 in the same period one year ago.

“Consumers are no longer interested in the low-end, low-price desktops and this is very reflective of that,” said Ryce. “It’s not the $300 to $400 PCs being sold.”

Overall, Ryce said back to school 2010 can be considered a success for the IT community in Canada.

“I think it met expectations. Back to school is one of those key buying period the IT market likes to keep an eye on,” said Ryce. “We’ve seen a very good period, and it bodes well for the holiday season. The holiday period is typically similar in regards to directional, with holiday obviously being a much stronger time period.”

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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