updated 02:40 am EST, Thu February 19, 2009
Apple tops satisfication
While Mac sales may have slipped in January, buyers of Apple's Macs continue to be more satisfied than all other computer buyers and planned purchases of Apple's laptops was stronger than previous surveys; however, Mac sales in the last 90 days appear to have slipped from the last survey. With Apple leading the ChangeWave research survey, 81 percent of Mac buyers say that are "very satisfied" with their purchase in the last 90 days -- well ahead of industry leaders Dell and HP as well as the rest of industry.
The survey showed that only 55 percent of Dell buyers and 52 percent of HP buyers expressed the same "very satisfied" sentiment, while smaller PC manufacturers such as Asus and Acer and electronics giant Sony also had better satisfaction scores than PC leaders HP and Dell. Toshiba and Lenovo were at the bottom with only 52 percent and 50 percent, respectively, saying that they were "very satisfied" with their purchase.
Overall, consumers continue to be wary of new computer and electronic purchases, but forecasted demand for notebooks remained at the same level (6%), while desktop demand was down significantly. The survey results showed that planned PC buying remains at the lowest level ever recorded in its surveys with only 4 percent of respondents saying that they anticipate buying a desktop in the next 90 days, a 20% drop from January 2009.
However, results showed that notebook purchases remained at the same levels as January with 6 percent saying that they'll buy a laptop. In addition, overall Consumer Electronics spending is also at the lowest levels since ChangeWave first began measuring consumer purchasing in 2002.
ChangeWave, however, found that demand for Netbooks -- a market segment that analysts predict Apple will enter within two years -- remained "firm." Although the survey results show that the netbook market has been "one of the few beneficiaries of this tough spending environment" Apple recently said that it would still take a wait and see approach to this market segment.
"Our previous survey showed low-cost, highly portable laptops with smaller screens - popularly known as Netbooks - are one of the few beneficiaries of this tough spending environment," the company said in its report. "The latest results reinforce this finding. Among respondents who have bought a laptop in the past 90 days, 17% say it was a Netbook - better than one in every six laptops purchased during this time period."
Looking ahead, the survey found that 18 percent of potential laptop buyers in the next 90 days will be a Netbook -- four points higher than in January.
Within the weaker overall PC spending environment, planned purchases of Apple's laptops by consumers was stronger, while desktop demand continued to decline. Planned laptop purchases of Apple notebooks was up 3 points to 30 percent, while planned Mac desktop purchases slipped by 2 points to 26 percent.
Apple, however, continued to show greater sales weakness over the last 90 days: though a total of 11 percent said that they bought a laptop over the past 90 days (down 1 point since January), only 20 percent of purchasers said that they purchased a Mac laptop and 15 percent said they bought a Mac desktop -- both of which were down 2 points from the January survey. In contrast, HP showed strong gains in sales with 27 percent of past notebook and past desktop purchases in last 90 days -- up four and five percent respectively from January.