PriceGrabber.com’s 2010 and 2009 netbook surveys define a netbook as having a screen smaller than 11 inches, costing less than $500 and employing a low-power processing chip. This year, the percentage of online consumers who personally own a netbook has increased to 15 percent, compared with 10 percent last year. Additionally, 11 percent of consumers plan to purchase a netbook in 2010.
Netbooks complement but do not replace laptops
While netbooks have become more popular in the last year, they are more of a complement than a replacement for laptops. Fifty-five percent of consumers do not consider a netbook a feasible replacement for a laptop. Additionally, 63 percent indicate that a netbook is best described as an additional device while on the go.
Portable computing sets a new price standard among consumers
Netbooks not only are becoming more popular, but they also have helped set new price expectations for consumers. Survey data reveals a significant difference between the dollar amount consumers are willing to pay for their next computing device and the amount they paid for their last device. Sixty-five percent of consumers say the maximum amount they plan to spend on their next computing device is $750, even though 52 percent of online consumers spent more than $750 on their last device.
The Good News for Consumers
Consumer demand for less-costly computing devices has forced retailers to lower their prices on laptops and netbooks. The average price of products in the PriceGrabber.com Laptop category dropped to $645 in December 2009 from $808 in December 2008. This represents a 20 percent decrease in average price.