Since April, most electronic retail chains have experienced a large decrease in growth when it comes to their notebook sales. Given the timing, the main responsible for this slump seems to be the iPad, as many folks who were in the market for a notebook eventually decided to buy an iPad instead. According to Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn, the iPad cannibalized sales of notebooks at the chain by “as much as 50%.” While most of us dubbed these claims as “a bit dramatic”, a recent report from Fortune and Morgan Stanley Research seems to confirm Brian Dunn’s claims, as the growth of notebook sales in the U.S. has recently halted, and the market now seems to be shrinking.
Barely a month before the launch of the iPad, the notebook market growth started to sharply decelerate, and this trend has been fairly constant since then. As a result, and for the first time in years, the market declined in year-over-year sales.
But the most interesting tidbit hidden behind these numbers is the fact that notebooks/netbooks may have been the “default solution” for a large portion of buyers for many years, as no serious alternative was available until the iPad launched in April 2010. In other words, many notebook buyers bought their machine for simple functionalities such as emails and web access, something that tablets like the iPad do very well as well, but in a much smaller, and much more user-friendly package. Add on top of that the fact that the iPad offers thousands of dedicated apps, ranging from games to productivity suites, the decision to switch to a tablet instead of a notebook/netbook may not have been that difficult to make.