RealTime IT News

PC Sales Take a Breather

Holiday shoppers bought plenty of PCs during the so-called "Black Friday" shopping week, but not nearly as many as last year.

The Black Friday week, which includes the day after Thanksgiving when many retailers offer huge discounts to entice shoppers, is traditionally the highest volume week for PC sales.

But this year they dipped 7.2 percent from the same period a year ago, according to figures released today by the market research firm Current Analysis. However, notebook sales increased 51.6 percent.

The delay in the consumer version of Microsoft's Vista operating system definitely had an impact on holiday PC sales, according to Current Analysis research director Samir Bhavnani.

"The ASPs [Average Selling Price] would have been higher," Bhavnani told internetnews.com. "There was no marketing around Vista, but if it was available, Vista would have been the marketing campaign that drove more shoppers to stores."

Nevertheless, notebook sales were strong. Major retailers slashed notebook prices, which are typically higher than PCs, to attract holiday shoppers.

For example, Current Analysis reported that Best Buy, Circuit City and CompUSA all advertised notebooks under $400. That was still double dramatic cuts to some PC desktop systems advertised for as little as under $200 in Thanksgiving Day fliers.

Current Analysis said that during Black Friday week, the average notebook sold for $708, down 17.3 percent from $856 last year and down 32 percent from $1,045 just two years ago.

The average desktop sold for $464, down 5.9 percent from $493 last year.

Bhavnani said the top four notebook sellers by retail over the week were HP, Toshiba, Gateway and, close behind, Sony. He said HP did "spectacularly well," and Sony made a huge gain in market share versus last year while Gateway dropped 11 percent.

Typically more of a premium-priced notebook supplier, Bhavnani noted that Sony did something very unusual. "They advertised a Sony notebook on the back of the Best Buy circular for $599; ironically, the same price as PlayStation 3. Usually Sony notebooks start at over $1,000."