NPD reported US retail notebook unit sales declined 4% Y/Y in August, a first decline. The first week of September shows a similar 4% Y/Y drop. Best Buy’s CEO Brian Dunn remarked the iPad cannibalized notebook PC sales by as much as 50%.
What’s going on? Tablet cannibalization. But in a particular way. Here’s John Gruber on Daring Fireball:
Thereâ€™s been no sign that Mac laptop sales have slowed. We only have one quarter of results for the iPad era, but Mac sales were up 33 percent year-over-year. If itâ€™s true that â€œlaptopâ€ sales overall are slowing, itâ€™s coming entirely at the expense of Appleâ€™s competitors. My theory is that itâ€™s simply about price points. Appleâ€™s MacBooks start at $999. The iPad isnâ€™t competing against MacBooks â€” itâ€™s competing against $500-900 computers.
I remember the slide Steve Jobs put up when he unveiled the iPad. Right between the smartphone and the notebook PC was where he pegged the iPad, as a netbook competitor. And it seems that’s exactly what’s happening.