updated 10:05 am EDT, Tue October 6, 2009
NPD positive on back-to-school PC sales
Back-to-school notebook sales were as strong as ever this year but skewed in favor of cheaper systems, the NPD Group said today in a new study. About $1.6 billion of the $7.6 billion spent between late July and mid-September went directly to notebooks, or about as much as was spent last year despite ongoing economic problems and rendering them "recession-proof." However, the revenue came at the expense of system prices: while more systems were sold, the average price of a school notebook fell from $804 last year to $624 this year.
The drop is blamed partly on netbooks. The usually Atom-based mini notebooks represented just 2 percent of sales for back-to-school last year but marked 14 percent this year. Nearly half of all ads in flyers and other promos this year were pushing netbooks.
News of the sort should favor companies like Acer and ASUS, both of whom focus heavily on netbooks and make them part of their core business models. Dell and HP will likely show mixed results as they both offer significant netbook lineups but risk losing sales of high-end PCs. Premium notebook producers like Apple will have potentially suffered the most, as its least expensive notebook during the student buying period cost at best $950 with educational pricing. A cheaper MacBook may not appear until later this month at the earliest.