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Black Friday Mobile PC Trends and Long Term Impacts

This year’s Black Friday retail store check was similar to last year with some slight twists.

Consumers seemed to once again focus on tablet PCs with most of the attention on Apple’s iPads, in particular the iPad mini, which had a $100 off promotion. Beyond the iPad mini, it became a price contest among the other brands with the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, which also had a $100 off promotion, being most popular among the stores I visited and the sales associates I spoke with (I visited three Bay Area Best Buy stores and one Target store). The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7” and the Google Nexus 7 tablets were next two most popular tablets. The twist for tablet PCs this year was the variety of low-cost tablets that consumers could choose from. Best Buy had their Insignia Flex 8” selling for $80 and the major brands were selling several models under $200—Samsung was selling the Galaxy Tab 3 7” for $150 in addition to the Kindle Fire HDs.

Early holiday buying indications support our forecasts that call for nearly 66% of second half tablet PC shipments to have screen sizes smaller than 9 inches. We expect small sized tablet PCs to continue to account for the major share of the market through 2017. We also expect ASPs to continue to drop from $341 for 2013 to $279 by 2017.

Though foot traffic in the notebook PC sections of the stores we visited were high, sell through was modest. The twist for notebook PCs was that touch panels were more heavily promoted on notebook PCs this year as compared to last year with small signs indicating touch capability. The majority of notebook PCs had touch panels with only a handful of models having “mouse” interfaces.

Though touch is being better promoted this year versus last year, we are expecting adoption to be modest for the second half of the year with a penetration rate of around 10% for the second half of 2013 with the penetration rate for the full year reaching 11%, or 19.8 million units. The price premium for touch and the limited number of applications supporting touch being the biggest obstacles for adoption.

Once again, Chromebooks were popular and were sold out in the stores we visited and online during Thursday and Friday but according to sales associates the inventory was limited as compared to other notebook PCs.