A recent survey of consumers in the U.S. conducted by ABI Research found out that notebook is by far the most preferable form-factor of personal computer at present. Two times more people plan to get a PC in clamshell or slate form-factors than in desktop flavour.
The survey revealed that while desktops are the most common type of computer in consumers’ homes, consumers are more than twice as likely (35%) to buy laptops, netbooks, or media tablets than desktops in the next six months. The results clearly show changing attitudes across all classes of computing devices.
“What somewhat surprised us was that while price is still important – in fact the single most important characteristic for laptops – in other computer types features such as processor speed, screen resolution, and memory, were considered more important. Consumers have a price-range expectation and within that range they look for certain features and specifications," said Michael Inouye, an industry analyst with ABI.
Price remains the most important criterion for laptops because most new laptops purchased at retail will perform most functions that a typical user wants so price is seen as critical.
But for desktops, which are often priced lower (per spec) than laptops, respondents picked processor speed, memory, and storage capacity above price. Consumers perceive these computers as offering processing power and plenty of storage, perhaps acting as the central hub for a digital library.
“In netbooks, much media attention has been devoted to the processors because this often has an impact on users’ experience. So the majority of consumers cite processor speed as a netbook’s most important feature. As well as a definite shift to laptops, there is greater overlap between netbook and laptop segments," added Janet Wise, primary research director at ABI Research.
Cost figures even further down the list of important criteria for media tablets, outranked by processor speed, screen resolution, memory, screen size, storage and operating system.
ABI surveyed two thousand of U.S.-based consumers in August, 2010.