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Estimates show netbooks stagnating post-iPad

updated 09:15 am EDT, Thu September 30, 2010

DisplaySearch says iPad stalling netbook growth

A new DisplaySearch study today both confirmed and predicted that the iPad was having a cooling effect on netbooks. Breaking down netbooks by category, it showed the 10-inch netbook's sales having dropped this spring by eight percent year-over-year after more than two years of growth. In small netbooks, below nine inches, the effect was even more dramatic as the category plummeted 89 percent to account for just 100,000 PCs worldwide.

The effect was such that the entire netbook category fell 14 percent and would only be saved by including the iPad, whose nearly 3.3 million sales would immediately flip the category back to 29 percent growth if it were included.

A forecast also suggested that the iPad might not necessarily sink netbook market share but that it was blunting any hopes for the category to keep growing beyond the industry average. It would grow above the 16 percent average for the second half of 2010, at 29 percent, but by the end of 2011 would have fallen slightly behind a 24 percent average.

Although other tablets are due to arrive, Apple's model was seen by the analyst team as controlling the segment for at least the next year and taking market share from netbooks and ultraportables, especially in well-developed regions where many already have a computer. The company's edge would come simply from differentiation, DisplaySearch's notebook research lead John Jacobs said: where netbooks were just cheap Windows notebooks, tablets were now increasingly based on ARM or x86 merged with a mobile OS, such as Android, iOS or webOS.

Price gaps have also affected the results. With cost differences between a netbook or ultraportable and a full-size notebook closing to as little as $60, there was little incentive to get one of the smaller, slower portables without an obvious difference. The iPad is much lighter and smaller, while many who now want something more have been opting for 15-inch and larger models instead.

By Electronista Staff


  1. JeffHarris

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999


    No Mystery

    People buy into a fad of underpowered, cheap, Windows running garbage thinking that these things could replace a full-sized computer, only to realize the opposite.

    Word gets around. People stop buying.
    And some wonder why there's there's been an overall sales drop?
    The iPad is a contributor, but there's much more to it..

  1. iDaver

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Nov 2001



    Most people who want a netbook now have one, so of course sales will begin to slow. There's no compelling reason to upgrade after you have a netbook since for most people it is a second computer. Mine works just fine, thanks.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009


    Would the

    iPad qualify as a fad of underpowered, iOS running garbage that people think would replace a full-sized computer? I think it does.

    There is no doubt that the iPad has something to do with the drop in netbook sales. The market is so saturated with netbooks right now that coupled with the shiny new iPad, sales drop. No brainer.

    Just take into account the people that have bought an iPad and realized it's limited capabilities may sell their iPads or will not want to upgrade when Apple puts out a new unit. I know a few people in that boat.

    Oh and don't forget the onslaught of Android tablets/slates/pads. I wonder how long iPad will hold it's lead when they unleash the Green Robot?

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    I don't care if the iPad isn't necessarily

    hurting netbook sales. No Windows fanboi would admit to it even if it were true since a "useless toy" can't replace a real computer. I do know that Apple is selling iPads as fast as they can make them and that's money in the bank for Apple. Any drop in netbook sales, even if it's only a couple of million or so, takes money away from Microsoft in OEM Windows 7 licenses. I believe it will only get worse in the future as various vendors come out with tablets running mobile OSes. They'll all blunt Windows 7 sales. That will give Microsoft something to think about. Any slowdown in Windows sales will give investors pause about near-term Microsoft revenue which could possibly push Microsoft shares down to the low $20 range. Nowadays, just a little bad news can drop even a solid company's share price.

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