Netbooks put price pressure on laptops

Netbooks are on the way up, with 11% of customers indicating that they are planning to purchase a netbook during 2010

May 17, 2010

Netbooks are on the way up, with 11% of customers indicating that they are planning to purchase a netbook during 2010. This is not a large increase, but it does show an upward trend – and it is placing price pressures on laptops, said Christopher Riley, MD of notebook and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company (

He said the popularity of Netbooks (sometimes referred to as mini-notebooks) grew in 2009 – and will be growing this year. However, said Riley, of 1 680 respondents interviewed by Pricegrabber in its Netbook and Portable Computing Trends Consumer behaviour Report – which outlines the differences between netbook trends from early January this year to a similar period in 2009 – netbooks will not, in the foreseeable future, replace laptops.

“Netbooks are not replacing laptops either as 63 percent of those interviewed revealed that their netbooks are best described as an additional device when operating remotely, or on the move. In addition, of those who already owned, or used, netbooks 86% said they already owned a laptop – and 73% had a desktop computer.

“When it comes to netbook usage,” said Riley,”85% are using their netbooks for browsing the Internet, 77% for emailing, 46% for word processing, 30% for media playing, 28% for constant connectivity, 18% only for traveling, and 13% for online  gaming.”

These figures do not add up to 100% because consumers are using their networks for more than one purpose.

Because of growing popularity, analysts say that netbooks have acted to reduce the price of laptops, something that is placing pressure on computer sellers.

“Moreover,” said Riley, “consumers are becoming more vociferous and are expecting prices to come down – so when they buy their next unit they expect a drop in price. This is causing price pressures for companies.”

Research by Pricegrabber Nebook reflect that more than 50% of those interviewed claimed that they paid more than $750 for their last computer product, but would not be willing to pay this price the next time they made a purchase.

Netbooks can sell for as little as $279, placing “price pressures” on laptops – certainly in the USA, said Riley.