Report: consumer confusion over netbooks and notebooks

Report: consumer confusion over netbooks and notebooks

Summary: A report issued by the NPD Group this morning found that there's some confusion over the differences between a netbook and a notebook - and that's leading to some consumer dissatisfaction. The research firm found that 60 percent of consumers who purchased a netbook thought it would have the same functionality as a notebook.

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A report issued by the NPD Group this morning found that there's some confusion over the differences between a netbook and a notebook - and that's leading to some consumer dissatisfaction.

The research firm found that 60 percent of consumers who purchased a netbook thought it would have the same functionality as a notebook. But that's not the case, they're quickly discovering. Just more than half of netbook owners - 58 percent - said they were satisfied with their purchase.

And among the key 18-24 age group, 65 percent said they bought their netbooks expecting better performance while only 27 percent said their netbooks performed better than expected. Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a press release:

We need to make sure consumers are buying a PC intended for what they plan to do with it...  Retailers and manufacturers can’t put too much emphasis on PC-like capabilities and general features 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 their purchases.

Netbooks are all fine and dandy if consumers know what they're getting with it. But it seems that the netbook makers want the consumer to adapt to what it's offering as opposed to the manufacturers adapting to what the consumer wants.

Netbooks are still finding their role in the greater computing ecosystem and consumers are still trying to figure out how they're going to use them. Consumers say that they like the portability aspect of the devices. However, 60 percent of buyers said they never take their netbooks out of the house.

Maybe by portability, they were thinking about being able to take it from the kitchen table to the living room sofa.

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Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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25 comments
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  • No wonder...

    Microsoft refused to work with netbooks. I said it before this all happened - People will buy a netbook thinking it's just a low end notebook and expect it to do everything they want.

    If Microsoft did follow the crowds, I'm betting the OS would be blamed over the hardware.
    TylerM89
  • You bought the Mustang, but not the GT model

    looks cool, but can lose to a Prius.

    The Atom processor can get the job done, but it'll lack in multitasking. On top of that you might be limited in other areas. Screen size, HD space, or memory. Research before you buy.

    If you want a netbook, get one that has a 10.1" screen or larger. They are coming out with 11" screens and soon 12" which will be better on the eyes and save you $$$ instead of the $700+ 12" laptops out there.

    Netbooks are for word processing, email, programming (compiling will vary), and web. Stay away from photoshop, and other rendering programs in Windows Netbooks. Linux will give you an edge on the multitasking and a netbook will make a good start on learning a different OS.
    Maarek
  • Wait until those consumers buy an ARM netbook by accident

    .. then we'll really see confusion.
    croberts
    • Thats why there won't be ARM netbooks.

      They'll be smartbooks and if the OEM's are any smarter this time around there won't be any more confusion than there is between buying a PC and a smartphone.
      storm14k
  • You can't follow what the consumer wants....

    ...in this case. They want something for nothing. They want a full blown computer in a ultra cheap package. It isn't that the OEM's aren't doing what the consumer wants...they just aren't making sure the right people purchase the right thing.

    Again I believe this is part of the reason some OEM's are trying to distance themselves from netbooks with smartbooks. Start over again this time with a clear message that this is not a PC and is aimed at particular functions...more like a smartphone (hence the name smartbook). People will expect an even lower price on these which is what they aim to deliver. Lets see if they get it right this time around. MS will probably continue to discourage netbooks and there will be the chance for a clear separation.
    storm14k
    • Speaking of confusion, what's a 'smartbook'?

      As usual, I'm behind the leading edge. What's a 'smartbook'?
      CharlieSpencer
      • A device that is not be confused with a notebook

        it's that simple, really.
        InAction Man
        • Or a netbook, or a smartphone,or a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

          Beyond defining it as what it's not, what is it? How does it differ from a netbook or a smartphone?
          CharlieSpencer
          • In short it's both a netbook and a glorified smartphone

            simple really!
            InAction Man
      • RE: Report: consumer confusion over netbooks and notebooks

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        stefrayb
  • Just the thing I have been saying for some time now.

    Consumer confusion and sometimes a complete lack of knowledge about the very existence of netbooks (sometimes only having heard the name)is something I have said before is still a big issue with consumers generally.

    Of course we always have the posting pundits around here who think the rest of the world operates in the same continuum that they do. The rest of the world operates in a world bearing little resemblance to the world most of the posters around here operate in. The mere fact that one finds themselves reading and responding to IT blogs should be the first clue that your doing something most of the rest of the world has no interest in, and the knowledge you have of current events in the industry is likely well beyond that of what Joe Average has.

    The truth is, that even the majority of people who use computers for work and at home on a daily basis, but have no direct connection to the IT industry itself, usually have nothing more then a cursory awareness that netbooks exist and are usually of the suspicion that a netbook is just an ultra small laptop with the majority of the capacity of a regular notebook.

    I have seen posters around here claim that netbooks are really taking off and that they are broadly known about now. That is obviously misleading at best and dead wrong generally. Much of the reason that netbook sales are doing as well as they are is that many people who are purchasing them really don't know what it is they are purchasing. If they were absolutely aware of exactly what a netbook was really going to provide them with, they likely wouldn't be purchasing, as we see in the poor level of customer satisfaction.

    The people around here who seem to have a total disconnect with the publics views and knowledge about the IT industry should really brighten up because they continuously post in terms of their own interests and knowledge, implying that the rest of the world should see things the way they do. It is often impossible to get these types to understand the rest of the world doesn't know about many things that those involved in the IT industry, or those who closely follow the IT industry do know about, and what is common knowledge to them is often unknown or irrelevant to the interests and needs of much of the rest of the general public.

    This kind of tunnel vision thinking inspires much of the disdain and bizarre hatred toward Microsoft and Windows as many of the posters around here are so disconnected to what the rest of the world wants and needs they simply refuse to believe that people are generally happy with Windows.

    I have seen anti-MS posters on ZDnet, on too many occasions to count, making claims that they see nothing but an endless parade of broken down Windows machines all the time. And we know that is not true, at least not unless you work at a computer repair shop. The point being; if posters who say such things actually believe it, it simply shows once again how disconnected they are with what is really going on in the general public, and they are posting, saying things that have been inspired out of their own closed circles that bear no real relationship with what is happening in the real world.

    So yes, its hardly surprising to hear that many of the public who have purchased netbooks didn't really have a decent understanding of what a netbook could and could not do. When people decide to comment on any general state of affairs that pertain to the public at large its best to have a good hands on understanding of where that general public is at in both their knowledge of a situation and what the general public is REALLY doing, not simply what they and their closed circle of buddies and co-workers like to think the general public is thinking and doing.
    Cayble
    • How to discredit yourself in 1 paragraph...

      Example 1

      "I have seen anti-MS posters on ZDnet, on too many occasions to count, making claims that they see nothing but an endless parade of broken down Windows machines all the time. And we know that is not true, at least not unless you work at a computer repair shop. The point being; if posters who say such things actually believe it, it simply shows once again how disconnected they are with what is really going on in the general public, and they are posting, saying things that have been inspired out of their own closed circles that bear no real relationship with what is happening in the real world."

      All OS war fun aside. You have go to be on an IV hooked directly to a koolaid factory in Redmond to make such a ridiculous statement. I can only assume that a so called tech savvy person that does not turn into THE support man for all the Windows users around them must not be as technically up to speed as they think they are. The Windows users are simply calling on someone else that actually knows something leaving the self proclaimed techie to make foolish statements like the one above.
      storm14k
      • Your point is lost.

        Again, the statements I am talking about are the ones like you see posters around here claiming that "all the people they know" that use Windows are always breaking down and suffering crashes BSOD and endless malware infections. Again, this is not true. Unless you live on some weird location of the world where computers just refuse to work.

        I am not talking about instances where your obviously going to see computers needing repair, like a repair shop or an IT department in a large company where Windows computers are broadly in use. Of course if Windows is whats being used then your going to see some Windows computers needing work.

        What I am talking about are the claims we see being made that are constructed to sound like the poster has some intimate knowledge that Windows based computers are dropping like flies through out the residential neighborhoods around the world. I had seen one moron post that he constantly sees Geek Squad vans all over his neighborhood rushed off their feet trying to keep the neighborhoods Windows machines functional. There are always commentaries like that trying to make it sound like Windows machines are generally so unreliable that they are bound to fail and its not a question of if, but whether its going to happen right now or in a few minutes.

        I say we know these kinds of claims are false because that is not whats happening and that is plainly easy to see as the world has been running off of multiple hundreds of millions of Windows installations and the world hasn't ground to a halt yet.

        Please note; I used the term "general public", and thats what I was referring too, the general publics experience with Windows, which has been very good indeed. If you disagree with that, fine. I have already identified why that kind of opinion seems to have a grip on some lost souls and there is nothing more that needs to be said about that. Insist on what you will, but it doesn't change the facts.
        Cayble
        • Why you insist on denying overwhelming evidence is beyond anyone

          The hard reality that windoze keeps breaking is so widely accepted that it is truly amzing seeing someone claiming the contrary. Truly amazing!!!

          In fact most computer professionals are very happy with that situation because: <i>"Windows keeps breaking and I keep making money"</i> That fact alone explains why so many people keep posting here in windoze defense, <b>YOU</b> included.
          InAction Man
          • The second...

            You said "Windoze" anyone who hasn't already stopped listening to you, just now has.

            "Windows" doesn't break down and get infected as easily as you keep claiming.

            Since XP SP3, infections are down and people are starting to use AV products now, as well as Windows Defender.

            "Windoze", "M$" is so 1998 - Get with the times OutOfAction Kid
            TylerM89
          • Yeah yeah, right...

            whatever kid, whatever...
            InAction Man
  • How many ...

    ... thought they were getting a Nintendo DS LITE and were disappointed when they couldn't find Mario ;-)
    jacksonjohn
  • RE: Report: consumer confusion over netbooks and notebooks

    The story says only %58 of netbook purchasers are happy with their purchase. But the link says for regular notebooks the number is %70, so netbooks do only %12 worse. That is not bad for a new type of computer where eom's and consumers are still sorting things out.
    Eduardo_z
  • RE: Report: consumer confusion over netbooks and notebooks

    Dumb people. You look at the specs of a netbook and of a notebook and you can clearly see there is a difference between the power of a netbook and a notebook.

    Another issue is consumers buying a netbook with Linux on it thinking it was comparible to Windows only to find out it isn't. According to one study I ready a while back, 80% of returns were because the consumer returned the netbook because they didn't like Linux.

    Part of the blame goes to the consumer but part goes to where they bought the netbook. Store staff [if applicable] should of informed them instead of getting the quick sale.
    Gis Bun
    • Uh, consumers don't look at specs

      That's how some of them wind up returning Linux netbooks.

      As to store staff, why do you think they know any more than the consumers? Billy worked at Foot Locker last week, and he'll be at The Gap next month.

      Part of the blame goes to the manufacturers' marketing departments. When's the last time you saw a consumer-grade computer of any class shown doing anything serious? These systems are marketed as easy-to-use appliances. I always remember the one with two teenagers who part from their date and then go home and swap cutesy-poo e-mails. This doesn't imply that there's any research required before making this purchasing.
      CharlieSpencer