Friday, 8 March 2013

Acer and Lenovo sales doing well at The Notebook Company …end users look for more ‘bang for buck’

As the consumer continues to battle with over indebtedness, price/performance is becoming a bigger issue, with end users looking far more closely at specifications to ensure that they do not pay too much by “buying features they will not use”.

This is according to Christopher Riley, CEO of Pretoria-based laptop and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company –and one of the biggest suppliers of Apple iPads.

“End users are really doing their homework and they are not ‘over-buying’ as much as they used to in the past. Users traditionally have the habit of buying laptops, and technology, that they will never completely utilize. People generally buy laptops, from a spec point of view, that they will never fully utilize. They might use 60% of the specs and features, meaning, in effect, that they are actually overpaying. But during the first quarter of this year, we have seen a definite trend where users are becoming far more discerning. They are looking more closely at the specs and features of their purchases, looking at it from a stricter ‘what features do I really need’ scenario.”

Riley said that while the sale of Apple iPads had currently dropped “around 40%”for the first quarter of the year, there had been a surge in the sale of Acer and Lenovo laptops.

“Looking at the semi professional market we have sold a lot of Acer laptops. Spec and price is the main reason because users seem to think they are getting good bang for their buck. When it comes to the graphics and gaming market, Lenovo seems to have the edge on other products right now – also from a features and price/performance perspective.

“It will be interesting to see if Apple iPad sales increase in the second quarter of the year. We were predicting a drop in sales for the first quarter, but it looks like sales are going to drop by as much as 40% - which is far higher than we thought. One of the reasons for this drop could be that the iPad market is slightly saturated and that people are still recovering from overspending over the festive season. Additionally, Apple has introduced so many new products and models to the market over the past six months that it may have caused a certain amount of confusion – and it also might have cannibalized overall Apple sales as users who might have bought iPads have opted for other products.

“But, despite this,” said Riley, “we are expecting a pick-up in iPad sales during the second and third quarters; but I don’t think it will achieve the heights we reached in 2011 and 2012.”

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Notebook sales struggle as the economy splutters – but sales stability may return later in the year

Apple, the incumbent “king of the tablet”, is under threat from Samsung as it saw its slice of the worldwide tablet pie falling from 51,7% to 43,6%, while Samsung’s spurred upwards from 7,3% to 15%.

It might not yet be time to worry, but, according to Christopher Riley, the CEO of Pretoria-based notebook and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company – and one of the largest sellers of Apple iPads -  Apple’s heydays in the iPad market “might well be over”.

“They are certainly not down and out, buy there is certainly increased completion of late, including a big jump in popularity by Samsung – and an increase in competition from Android-based tablets.

“The importance of recent sales statistics – as gleaned from MIRROR NEWS – show that Samsung’s market share has effectively doubled, while Apples has declined. These are the facts on the table right now. It also seems certain that Samsung will further increase its market share as the year progresses.”

Sales of Samsung Galaxy tablets made the 7.9 million mark in the last quarter of 2012, compared with just 2.2 million in the entire 2011 – according to research firm IDC.

“There is a strong move upwards,” said Riley. “even though Apple is still the best selling tablet, with a comparative sales figure of 22.9 million.”

Additionally, Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone outsold the iPhone for the first time over the Christmas season, reporting a total of 18 million sales compared to Apple’s 16.2 million.

“All around, Apple is facing more competition,” said Riley.

He added that he is also noticing a “definite swing” towards more sales of Samsung and Android-driven tablets. 

“Apple’s iPads are still our top seller. But we are seeing increased interest in other tablets, something that started during the latter part of last year.”