While we can debate how much the iPad cannibalizes Apple’s MacBook sales, there’s no doubt that the device is continuing to kill of the entire netbook industry. While iPad sales are literally selling as fast as Apple can make them, netbook sales continue to plummet – with the first quarter of this year representing a sixth consecutive quarter in which shipments of the small, inexpensive, and often low quality PC notebooks have declined sharply.
That news comes from research firm Canalys, which noted that the shrinking netbook market led to shipments down 34% from the first quarter of 2011. Shipments of the iPad and other tablets is up 200% year over year for the same quarter Canalys noted last week.
It’s worth noting the Apple announced that iPad sales (as opposed to shipments to retailers) represented 151% year over year growth according to Apple’s last quarterly financial results.
The numbers aren’t particularly surprising according to Canalys vice president and principal analyst Chris Jones, who told InfoWorld that tablets represent an increasing percentage of the computing market.
If you look at the U.S., pads are approaching 40 % of all client PC shipments. The pad proposition for U.S. consumers is very strong, thanks to the wider choice in content and apps.
Canalys also indicated that Intel’s push to create a market of ultrabooks, which are essentially PC notebooks designed around the specs and price points of Apple’s MacBook Air, may also be part of the reason that the netbook market contracted as much as it did during the quarter. From a business use perspective the iPad, MacBook Air, and ultrabooks all offer much better capabilities than anything in the netbook market (not to mention that they’re a bit more impressive looking when meeting clients).