A random quote near the end of a Wall Street Journal story about electronics sales
appears to be yet another indication that people are buying iPads instead of laptops. Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn told the Journal
reporter that the company estimated the iPad had "cannibalized" its sales of laptops, with as many as 50% of potential laptop buyers getting an iPad instead. In a separate story, a market analyst has found that netbook sales continue to drop, with fewer sold in August 2010 than the same month in 2009.
Best Buy started selling the iPad as soon it was released but sold out quickly, in part because the retailer only stocked the device in about half of its stores. On Wednesday, the company announced
that the iPad would be available in all of its 1,093 US stores as of September 26th. The Wall Street Journal
article was profiling the retailer's move away from big-screen TVs, stereos and desktop computers to game systems and devices like the iPhone and iPad. Dunn noted, almost in an offhand way, that the company's "internal estimates showed that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50%."
Warnings of "cannibalization" - using exactly that word
- have been around since right after the iPad was released. In early July, a report by market analysts Barclays asserted that the iPad would hurt sales of personal computers, particularly Wintel laptops. And in June, the market research firm DisplaySearch found the first evidence
that the iPad was in fact taking sales away from netbooks, suggesting that we were seeing "the beginning of the end" of what they confusingly referred to as "the mini-note PC."
Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty released a report to her customers showing netbook sales declining in every month since the iPad was announced. In August, growth actually went negative, losing 4% year-over-year, the fist time that netbook sales had declined since the company began tracking them. Huberty blames what she calls "tablet cannibalization
" for the decline. "We expect tablets to continue to pressure PCs," she wrote, "as more vendors launch products (e.g., Dell Streak and Samsung Tab) and Apple expands its iPad distribution."
Source: PC Magazine