Back to school computer sales have been slumping for the past couple years, due in large part to the increased popularity of tablets and smartphones.
According to a recent study by the NPD Group, US computer sales for the 10 week back to school period, ranging from June 30 to September 7, declined by 2.5 percent when compared to the same period of 2012.
Both desktop and notebook sales declined, with desktops losing five percent and notebooks sliding two percent. This is despite the fact that the average price of a computer declined from $709 last year to $671 this year.
Despite the fact that numbers were down, it is important to note that things were not nearly as bad as they could have been. This is due in large part to the success of Chromebooks and Windows Touch devices.
It is important to note that Chromebooks did not exist in 2012, meaning that the comparison between this year and last are not identical. This is particularly important because roughly 175,000 units were sold this year alone, providing some growth to the notebook market.
The NPD Group study also noted that “entry-level Windows notebooks (under $300) increased 14 percent, and Windows touch notebooks accounted for 25 percent of Windows notebook sales.”
What about the Macbook? Although it is easy to believe that this notebook would help back to school computer sales, this is not the way things worked out. Instead, sales slipped more than three percent with the average sales price dropping from $1,445 to $1,286.
Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, was optimistic regarding Chromebooks and Windows touch saying, “Chromebooks and Windows Touch helped offset what could have been much steeper declines this back-to-school season.”
Back to school computer sales were not as bad as they could have been, however, we should not expect things to get any better in the future. With tablets continuing to grow in popularity, it is easy to believe that computer sales, including desktops and notebooks, will continue to struggle.
This may be bad news for some companies, to a certain degree, but others, such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), thanks to the popularity of its iPad, will not take nearly as big of a hit.
These hedge fund managers continue to invest heavily in Apple, thanks in large part to the dominance of its iPad tablets: David Einhorn, Christopher Hansen, Jeffrey Edwards, Stuart Peterson, and Mark Diker.