Demand for laptops will be muted during the first quarter of 2013

Demand for laptops will be weak during the first quarter of the year, and this is not only because of the market share being stolen by tablets, said Christopher Riley.

January 8, 2013

Demand for laptops will be weak during the first quarter of the year, and this is not only because of the market share being stolen by tablets, said Christopher Riley, managing director of laptop and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company.

The Notebook Company, one of the biggest local sellers of the Apple iPad tablet range, is also the administrator of the www.laptop.co.za and www.tabletZ.co.za web sites.

Riley said it is “important to remember” that laptop demand – not counting netbooks – was already moving downwards before the tablet industry caught fire.

“Apple’s iPad, the soon-to-follow Android and Windows slates and, more recently, Windows RT tablets, are simply acting to aggravate these already existing problems.”

Riley said it appears that the general consensus among market watchers is that first quarter of 2013 will not witness an upsurge in laptop demand. In fact, he said, it could be an ever less lucrative quarter for notebook markets than usual.

“Generally, the first quarter of the year is a slow season due to the fact that many people are still recovering from the spending sprees of the festive season. Adding to the challenges, this year notebook vendors will have to content with Windows 7 notebook oversupply, pressing many to offer as many price cuts as is possible. Installing Windows 8 on units will help somewhat, but it must be remembered that many owners of Windows XP/Vista and 7 systems are probably not yet ready for performance upgrades. They might even opt to buy a new phone or a tablet instead of a PC.”

But Riley said that while there will be pressures on laptop sales, the popularity of tablets will continue. “Apple iPads will continue to outsell our range of laptops during the first quarter of this year,” said Riley, “and, frankly, I see this continuing into the year.”

He said it has also become standard that most desktops will be replaced by laptops.