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Jacky's sees jump in netbook demand

Sales of netbooks up 40% in first six months of 2009 says retailer; research shows some US consumers unhappy with netbook performance

Jacky's sees jump in netbook demand
Netbook sales continue to grow in the UAE says Jackys, with further growth expected.

Retailer Jacky’s Electronics says that it has seen a 40% increase in demand for netbooks in the first half of 2009.

Sales of the small format devices made up 20% of the company’s overall revenues, Jacky’s reported, with Acer, Toshiba, HP, Samsung and Dell among the most popular brands of netbook.

Jimmy Patel, general manager, Jacky’s Electronics commented: “Netbook will be a key growth opportunity in the IT sector for the rest of 2009 as it maintains a positive sales momentum. Netbooks will continue to gain market share due to consumer demand, price points, portability, design and features.

“The Netbook offering is too good for the consumer to shy away from a purchase and is a big step in mobile computing. It is a perfect cheaper alternative to laptops with its unique processing power making it ideal for net surf and chatting. Netbooks have become popular with UAE customers due to a number of expatriates living here who are looking for an affordable way to keep in touch with their loved ones back home,” he added.

Patel said that he expects to see the sales mix to continue to shift in favour of netbooks from notebooks, and also that more higher specification netbooks, with larger screens, touch screens and improved graphics and operating systems would continue to drive the popularity of the segment.

Recent research in the US has shown that confusion around the capabilities of netbooks compared to notebooks is causing customer dissatisfaction with the netbook segment.

In a survey of 600 adults in the US, NPD Group found that six out of ten buyers thought that netbooks and notebooks were essentially the same. This was causing greater disappointment in buyers who chose a netbook over notebook when compared to those who intended to buy a netbook all along.

The 18-24 years old bracket was particular unimpressed, with 65% of buyers saying they had expected better performance from their netbooks.

NPD analyst Stephen Baker said that consumers were still attracted by the mobility factor of netbooks, and new developments such as consumer ultra-low voltage processors (CULV) processors and new OS such as Android and Windows 7 on netbooks would improve performance, but that the message to buyers needed to be clearer.

“Retailers and manufacturers shouldn't be putting too much emphasis on PC-like capabilities that could convince consumers that a netbook is a replacement for a notebook. Instead, they should be marketing mobility, portability and the need for a companion PC to ensure consumers know what they are buying and are more satisfied with what they purchase,” Baker said.

For the Summer, Jacky’s is offering several deals on netbooks, with a free external DVD writer and one year international warranty with select HP and Acer models, and free one year traveller’s warranty with Packard Bell’s DOT netbook. Meal vouchers are also on offer with netbook purchases.

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