Netbooks: Won't Replace Laptops, But Will Make 'Em Cheaper

Netbooks: Won't Replace Laptops, But Will Make 'Em Cheaper

While netbooks have become more popular and helped set new pricing standards for portable computers, they're unlikely to replace laptops anytime soon, according to a new survey.  The study was done by PriceGrabber.com, a division of Experian, which is perhaps best known for its credit reporting arm.



One of the key findings was that even among netbook users, perhaps only a quarter consider a netbook to be an acceptable replacement for a laptop. Some other main points:
  • Online consumers who owned a netbook in December 2008 increased from 10 percent to 15 percent in December 2009. And 11 percent plan to purchase one in 2010, though it's not clear if that was an additional 11 percent.
  • 65 percent of consumers say the most they plan to spend on their next computing device is $750; 52 percent spent more than $750 on their last device.
  • Netbook owners are getting older - the largest age group among owners is 45 to 64 years old. A year ago, it was 35 to 54.
  • 86 percent of netbook owners also own a laptop and 73 percent also own a desktop.
  • 72 percent consider a laptop a "feasible replacement" for a desktop, 45 see a netbook as a feasible replacement for a laptop and 27 percent see a netbook replacing a smartphone
A full 55 percent of those surveyed, however, do not see a netbook as a suitable replacement for a laptop. In fact, 63 percent said they considered a netbook "an additional device while on the go." The list of reasons given was topped by netbooks' small size. Other factors included the lack of a CD drive, minimal storage capacity and slower processes.

The low cost of netbooks has had an effect, however. Among the top 10 netbooks in PriceGrabber.com's study, eight retail at $350 or less. The most expensive is less than $500. That appears to have affected laptop pricing, according to PriceGrabber.com, where the average price dropped from $808 in December 2008 to $645 in December 2009 - a 20 percent decline.


Spoiled by netbook prices that are nearly dirt cheap, folks are less willing to spend more on their laptops, the survey found.  So, just what were the top selling netbooks in 2009, according to PriceGrabber?



Not surprising, the Asus Eee PC line took more than one slot but interestingly Toshiba clocked in at #2 with their NB205 and of course Dell's Mini  10v made a strong showing as well.
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Netbooks are great for their size but that is all they have going for them. I was shopping for one because they are small and they would be awesome for work for troubleshooting different issues at various sites. I found for the price, you are better off purchasing a laptop since they have way more features and power for just over the average price of a netbook. If they can drop the price more on them or increase their power, then I might look back.

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This sounds like good news to me! Drive those prices down! Wooo!

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I'm with acarzt - I like this.

I don't have any plans on buying a netbook myself... Laptops are small enough for a book-bag, and the Pandora should fit in my pocket.

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I just recently bought an Acer Aspire one and for the price and what it does you can't really knock it. I can use the main rig while my wife does facebook and myspace on the Acer. She was using a blackberry bold before or we would fight over the main comp.

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I am with acarzt on this one. I still wonder if the tablet is going to make the netbook a totally specialized part of the market though. I also agree with 3vi1 the notebook end of the market is becoming to close for me to consider a netbook. I also think with prices dropping on the notebooks and tablets being intro'd by more manufacturers, that the tablet seems better for this kind of thing. The new one posted today is sweet the iPad looks like a joke to me, it is not nearly functional enough. In a year I think the tablet will be eating the netbooks. The only good thing I see Apple having done for the tablet is keeping the price decent.

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Amy, I agree with you. The netbook I have could never, ever replace my Acer full-sized laptop but it's great for toting around with me. I could never be comfortable typing all day on the smaller keyboard nor squinting to see the icons on the screen-ok, maybe there's a trip to the optometrist in my very near future...the tablets, so far, are too pricey to compete.

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I think the Eee PC's mod-ability was one of the main reasons it got such a big initial rush into netbooks. And once other companies saw opportunity for profits, they started developing and innovating. I think netbooks can be great for traveling/busy business people or light users.

Driving laptop prices down is a huge bonus to the rest of users, especially now that most college students get laptops now-a-days.

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For me the attraction of a netbook is the easier portability. I serve as Secretary for several nonprofit Boards, so this is useful for taking minutes of those meetings. I'm also a wheelchair user, which limits how much stuff I can carry at one time. I used a 14" laptop for a while, and it was doable, but really bothersome to try to  carry along. A 10" netbook is a lot easier to carry  in a backpack. The biggest downside is how long it takes to boot up and to load MS Word. One other advantage of the netbook is the longer battery life - I don't have to locate an outlet and plug in for a long meeting as I would with the laptop.

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I have no need for something like a Netbook. Not really sure why it is picking up so quick.

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Because of the advancements and laziness of people, they want simple, small, light and portable :D

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Well yes I could see that point Inspector. The thing is also the ease of carrying as well as the battery life factor. The mobility one of these gives for general things is great. While I am unlike JD_denver, and in a wheel chair, I could see how it could be truly enabling for someone in his case as well as many others. I am just 170% deaf (100% in right ear 70% left), and could see how this device could be unmatched to many peoples needs and uses. This is especially true in enabling mobility which is it's aim, while not specifically at any one person or type of person. It is for the general man or woman who has a mobility need where it fits, there also dirt cheap for what you get.

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