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Laptops and PCs - US - August 2012

Computers have become important productivity and communications tools and have brought an endless stream of content via the web to the majority of U.S. homes. In doing so, these hardware portals to the online world have become a significant, $48 billion market according to Mintel’s estimates. However, as user needs have shifted from productivity tasks to entertainment and on-the-go-accessibility, this mature industry is facing tremendous change. Smartphones and tablets have become a potent competitive threat, and companies that have been able to deliver the combination of features consumers are looking for—such as Apple—have been able to claim market share from the previous leaders, HP and Dell. Furthermore, players that previously primarily focused on PC software—including Google and Microsoft—are emerging as additional potential competitors.

Mintel’s report will help companies better understand this rapidly changing marketplace, so they can adjust their plans and drive for success. The following issues will be discussed:

  • What opportunities for growth remain for PC makers, given the maturity of this sector?
  • How is the growing focus on tablets and smartphones reshaping the PC market?
  • Which industry players have been most successful at navigating the rapidly changing technology marketplace?
  • Which PC brands have been best able to capture consumer interest and loyalty?
  • How are consumers interacting with PCs today?
  • How aware are consumers of new features, such as 3-D and touchscreen PCs, and will these features lead to higher levels of purchasing?
  • Do consumers feel their current PCs are “good enough” today, and will manufacturers be able to continue to rely on upgrades and replacements to fuel the market?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                        • The market
                          • A maturing market reaches stagnation
                            • Figure 1: Fan chart forecast of U.S. retail sales of PCs and laptops, 2007-17
                          • Laptops lead, but future path is unclear
                            • Figure 2: U.S. retail sales of laptop and desktop computers, 2007-17
                          • New responses to new competition
                            • Figure 3: U.S. smartphone and tablet unit manufacturer sales, 2010-12
                          • Apple’s core advantage
                            • PC ownership remains stable in the face of new devices
                              • Figure 4: Incidence of ownership of select types of computer, laptop, tablet, e-reader and smartphone by type, March 2012
                              • Figure 5: Purchase intent for select types of computer, laptop, and tablet, March 2012
                            • Web and email most popular PC applications
                              • Apple attracts a smaller but loyal audience
                                • Driving upgrades could remain a tough challenge
                                  • Figure 6: Interest in paying more for 3-D and touchscreen PCs, by age, March 2012
                                • Asians remain an important audience for PCs
                                  • What we think
                                  • Issues in the Market

                                      • How can PC makers recapture “techno lust”?
                                        • Changing the conversation
                                          • Hardware is no longer enough
                                          • Insights and Opportunities

                                            • Take convertibles for a spin
                                              • It’s all about the apps
                                              • Trend Application

                                                  • Inspire Trend: Minimize Me
                                                    • Inspire Trend: Prove It
                                                      • Inspire 2015 Trends
                                                        • Access Anything, Anywhere
                                                        • Market Size and Forecast

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Tablets take a toll
                                                              • Whither Windows?
                                                                • Retail sales and forecast
                                                                  • Figure 7: Total U.S. retail sales of PCs and laptops, at current prices, 2007-17
                                                                  • Figure 8: Total U.S. retail sales of PCs and laptops, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2007-17
                                                                • Fan chart forecast
                                                                    • Figure 9: Fan chart forecast of U.S. retail sales of PCs and laptops, 2007-17
                                                                • Market Drivers

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • From productivity to communications and fun
                                                                      • Figure 10: Personal computer usage applications, 2009-12
                                                                    • The cloud takes shape
                                                                      • Figure 11: Attitudes on mobile data access, March 2012
                                                                    • The Microsoft factor
                                                                    • Competitive Context

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Moving to a mobile model
                                                                          • Figure 12: U.S. tablet manufacturer shipments, by unit and dollar sales, at current prices, 2009-12
                                                                          • Figure 13: U.S. mobile phone manufacturer unit sales, by segment, 2006-12
                                                                        • More than just fun and games
                                                                        • Segment Performance

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • The portable premium
                                                                              • Figure 14: Total U.S. retail sales of PCs and laptops, by segment, 2010 and 2012
                                                                          • Segment Performance—Laptops

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Laptops lose some luster
                                                                                • Less than ultra
                                                                                  • Waiting for Windows
                                                                                    • Sales and forecast
                                                                                      • Figure 15: Total U.S. retail sales of laptop computers, 2007-17
                                                                                  • Segment Performance—Desktops

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Desktops continue their decline
                                                                                        • Could AIO PCs drive new interest with Windows 8?
                                                                                          • Sales and forecast
                                                                                            • Figure 16: Total U.S. retail sales of desktop computers, 2007-17
                                                                                        • Source of Purchase

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Specialty stores remain the primary source for PCs
                                                                                              • Figure 17: Source of computers purchased, by retail channel, 2009 and 2012
                                                                                            • It takes a genius
                                                                                            • Leading Companies

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Overview
                                                                                                  • Figure 18: U.S. PC brand market share, manufacturer shipments, 2010-11
                                                                                              • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                  • PCs go virtual?
                                                                                                    • ASUSTeK ascends
                                                                                                    • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Overview
                                                                                                          • Television
                                                                                                            • ASUSTeK: Finding Zen in sports
                                                                                                              • Figure 19: ASUSTeK TV ad, Find your Zenbook, 2012
                                                                                                            • Dell drops its humor
                                                                                                              • Figure 20: AT&T/Samsung TV ad, co-workers ahead of the curve, 2011
                                                                                                            • HP keeps it real
                                                                                                              • Figure 21: HP TV ad, We’re better than this, 2012
                                                                                                            • Intel goes back to the future
                                                                                                              • Figure 22: Intel PC knights ad, 2012
                                                                                                            • Online advertising
                                                                                                            • Ownership of Laptops and PCs

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • PC penetration stabilizes
                                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Computer ownership, 2007-12
                                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Household computer ownership, by gender, age, and household income, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Number of computers owned, by gender, age, and household income, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                • Desktops still the most common type of PC owned
                                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Computer, tablet, e-reader, and smartphone ownership, by type of product, by gender, March 2012
                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Computer, tablet, e-reader, and smartphone ownership, by type of product, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Computer, tablet, e-reader, and smartphone ownership, by type of product, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Number of computer, tablet, e-reader, and smartphones owned, by type of product, March 2012
                                                                                                              • Purchase Drivers and Intent

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Purchase intent
                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Computer purchase intent, by gender, age, and household income, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Computer types intending to purchase, by age, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Computer types intending to purchase, by household income, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: Purchase intent for computers, tablets, e-readers, and smartphones, by type of product, March 2012
                                                                                                                  • Other devices compete with PC-buying dollars for the young
                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Reasons for putting off purchase of a new computer, and preference for Apple over other brands, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Reasons for putting off purchase of a new computer, and preference for Apple over other brands, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                • PC Usage

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • PC usage peaks with the young
                                                                                                                      • Figure 36: Hours of computer usage per week, by gender, age, and household income, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Personal computer usage applications, by gender, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Personal computer usage applications, by age, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Personal computer usage applications, by household income, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                    • TV/PC integration still far from mainstream
                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: PC usage behavior and attitudes, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: PC usage behavior and attitudes, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                  • PC Operating System Usage and Preferences

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Windows remains the predominant choice
                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Primary computer operating system, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Primary computer operating system, Mac vs. Microsoft, by age, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Primary computer operating system, Mac vs. Microsoft, by household income, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                    • Brand Preference

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Apple fans are affluent
                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Brands of computer owned, by age, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Brands of computer owned, by household income, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                        • Dell, HP, Apple all desired brands
                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: PC brand preference and ownership, March 2012
                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: PC brand preference, first choice , by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: PC brand preference, first choice , by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                      • Attitudes and Motivations

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Are currently owned PCs “good enough”?
                                                                                                                              • Figure 50: Level of satisfaction with current PC performance for various tasks, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                              • Figure 51: Level of satisfaction with current PC performance for various tasks, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                            • Mixed interest in the cloud
                                                                                                                              • Figure 52: Attitudes to mobile data access, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                              • Figure 53: Attitudes on mobile data access, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                          • Interest in and Awareness of Advanced PC features

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Touchscreen awareness, interest higher than for 3-D
                                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Interest in and awareness of advanced PC features, by gender, March 2012
                                                                                                                                • Figure 55: Interest in and awareness of advanced PC features, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Interest in and awareness of advanced PC features, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                            • Teens and Kids

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Teens are avid PC users
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Teen computer usage, by gender and age, October 2010-November 2011
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Teen computer application usage, by gender and age, October 2010-November 2011
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Weekly hours of computer usage by teens, by gender and age, October 2010-November 2011
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Weekly hours of computer entertainment usage by teens, by gender and age, October 2010-November 2011
                                                                                                                                • PC usage quite high even in kids aged 6-11
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Kid computer usage, by gender and age, October 2010-November 2011
                                                                                                                              • Impact of Race/Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Asians are avid and sophisticated PC consumers
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: Computer ownership, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Number of computers owned, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 64: Incidence of ownership of select types of computer, laptop, tablet, e-reader and smartphone, by race/Hispanic origin, March 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 65: Personal computer usage applications, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: Brands of computer owned, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2011-March 2012
                                                                                                                                • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                    • Tablet owners are tech sophisticates
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 67: Cross tabulation of select computer, laptop, tablet, e-reader and smartphone ownership, March 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Advanced users are intrigued by the cloud
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 68: Attitudes on mobile data access by desktop ownership, March 2012
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 69: Attitudes on mobile data access by desktop ownership, March 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Battery life, storage space of interest to laptop users
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 70: Level of satisfaction with current PC performance for various tasks, by any desktop ownership, March 2012
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Level of satisfaction with current PC performance for various tasks, by any laptop ownership, March 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                      • Gadget Gurus
                                                                                                                                        • Demographics
                                                                                                                                          • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                            • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                              • Digital Laggards
                                                                                                                                                • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                  • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                    • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                      • Mobile Mainstreamers
                                                                                                                                                        • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                          • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                            • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                              • Cluster characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Laptop and PC cluster groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Incidence of ownership of select types of computer, laptop, tablet, e-reader and smartphone, by laptop and PC cluster groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 74: Attitudes on mobile data access, by laptop and PC cluster groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 75: PC usage behavior and attitudes, by laptop and PC cluster groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 76: Level of satisfaction with current PC performance for various tasks, by laptop and PC cluster groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                              • Cluster demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 77: Laptop and PC cluster groups, by gender, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 78: Laptop and PC cluster groups, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 79: Laptop and PC cluster groups, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 80: Laptop and PC cluster groups, by race, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 81: Laptop and PC cluster groups, by Hispanic origin, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                              • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                • Acer
                                                                                                                                                                • Apple, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                • ASUSTek Computer Inc
                                                                                                                                                                • Dell Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                • Hewlett-Packard Company
                                                                                                                                                                • Lenovo Group Limited
                                                                                                                                                                • Nokia Corporation (US)
                                                                                                                                                                • Samsung Electronics (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                • The New York Times Company
                                                                                                                                                                • Verizon Communications Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                Laptops and PCs - US - August 2012

                                                                                                                                                                US $3,995.00 (Excl.Tax)