Talk of the iPad cannibalizing the netbook, notebook, or entire PC industry, has long been around. However, now comes two more voices – this time from both the analyst world and the CEO suites. The iPad has “cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50 percent,” Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn told interviewers earlier this week.
The statement, while dramatic on its own, appears bolstered by a Wall Street analyst who reported Thursday U.S. notebook growth fell 4 percent in August, the first time that product has seen negative growth. Noting the steep decline matches the iPad’s introduction, Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty blames “tablet cannibalization” partially for the drop in notebook growth.
On Tuesday, Dunn announced the iPad would appear this fall in all 1,093 Best Buy retail locations. A potential reason was the company’s reported 61 percent jump in profits – driven by hand-held gadgets, cell phones and other consumer devices – and away from televisions and PCs. Dunn said consumers are “willing to disproportionately spend for these devices because they are becoming so important to their lives.”
This doesn’t appear to be a sentiment limited only to Best Buy. Retailer Target is also rumored to begin selling iPads starting October 3 with Walmart expected to carry the tablet by the end of the year.
Judging by sales data for the first week of September, declining notebook PC sales are continuing. Sales fell 4 percent year-over-year, Huberty said. The downward movement is likely a trend.
“We expect tablets to continue to pressure PCs as more vendors launch products (e.g., Dell Streak and Samsung Tab) and Apple expands its iPad distriubution,” she told investors Thursday night.