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Survey: Notebooks Surpass Desktop Sales For First Time

For the first time ever, distributors sold more notebook computers than desktops in a month.

For the first time ever, distributors sold more notebook computers than desktops in a month.

According to The NPD Group, members of the Global Technology Distribution Council sold 149,797 notebooks and 149,276 desktops in June. For a couple of years, notebooks have crept ever closer to surpassing the unit volume sales of desktops—coming within a couple of thousand units in several months.

“That’s the trend in the world. There’s a big push toward notebooks, especially in the second half of the year,” said Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis at NPD, Port Washington, N.Y. “It comes from the consumer side and from the SMB side. Small businesses are starting to add new employees at the end of the summer, so you tend to see a bigger push in terms of notebooks,” he said. “The final piece is that in the notebook space, you see [Hewlett-Packard] and Acer being very aggressive, and Sony is trying to grab some of the SMB space.”

Revenue generated from notebooks has long surpassed desktops, thanks to higher average selling prices for notebooks. In June, notebook sales accounted for $216.1 million, or $1,442.66 per notebook. Desktops accounted for $113.9 million, or $762.98 per unit. The average notebook price fell 11.8 percent from $1,635.07 in the year-ago month. In the same period, desktop prices fell 5 percent from $803.38.

Network Designs Integration Services, a solution provider in Fremont, Calif., now sells five notebooks to every one desktop, said Angie Wong, CEO of the company.

“As far as performance and expandability goes, they are comparable and the price points are there,” she said. “The only people that we sell desktops to are higher-end users who require special graphics cards or dual-monitor output, like engineering or graphics people.”

Mike Novotny, president of InterTech, a solution provider in Phoenix, still sells more desktops than notebooks, but his mix is shifting toward more notebooks. “The price of gas is going up, and I think you’ll see even more people working from home. The workforce is continually going mobile, and that means more notebooks,” he said.

InterTech also does a large number of wireless site surveys for companies looking for a more mobile workplace within the corporate walls, Novotny said.

“Price points of notebooks continue to come down. An entry-level notebook is not much more out of reach than an equivalent desktop configuration,” he said.

Overall, notebook sales increased 14.1 percent in units sold, while desktops fell 0.7 percent in June, compared with June 2004.

“The notebook is becoming a more robust personal productivity tool. More of us in business are connected with high speed at home, and there is a growing number of road warriors that require mobility,” said John Paget, president and COO of Synnex, Fremont, Calif. “If you have been at any of the [recent] Intel events, you would see that they project this trend to continue into the future.”

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