Business

2012 was a dark and dreary holiday for laptop sales

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2012 proved an ugly holiday for laptop sales. Windows notebook sales were down 11 percent, while MacBook sales were down 6 percent during the holiday season, according to a new report from the NDP analyst group.

The numbers shouldn’t be too terribly surprising given the continual shift from traditional PCs to tablets and smartphones. With phones and tablets replicating the basic functions of PCs for many consumers, laptops are naturally taking a hit. The NPD report covers the five-week holiday period from Nov. 18 through Dec. 22.

Microsoft was likely hoping that its new Windows 8 operating system would be able to at least keep sales flat, but notebooks sales still fell. Sales of Windows notebooks have been declining steadily this year. The average sales price of a Windows notebook rose just $2 to $420. Laptops with touchscreens accounted for 4.5 percent of Windows 8 notebook sales and the average price of a unit like this was $700. Sales of Windows notebooks under $500 dropped by 16 percent while notebooks selling for more than $500 increased 4 percent.

Apple’s MacBooks also saw a decline, but it wasn’t as sharp and had a silver lining. MacBook sales dropped 6 percent, but the average sales price of a MacBook unit increased $100 to $1,419. So Apple might be making up for the losses with higher priced goods, like its MacBooks with Retina displays. Apple also is selling lots of iPads and iPhones to more than make up for this.

The NPD report also talks about consumer electronics spending as a whole, which was also sluggish. Overall sales of consumer electronics declined 7 percent with consumers spending about $13.7 billion. Sales for the first two weeks of the holiday period declined 3.7 percent year-over-year while the last three weeks of the period went down more than 11 percent.

Steve Ballmer photo via Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat


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