When Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared 2003 the “year of the notebook” in January, he may have been more on target than even he suspected. According to recently released sales results from The NPD Group’s point-of-sale tracking service, May marked the first time that the dollar sales of notebook computers sold surpassed the dollar sales of desktop computers in U.S. retailers.
2003 may also be the “year of the LCD” since May also marked the first month that LCD monitors generated more unit sales volume than standard tube-based CRTs. Laptops and LCDs soared as retail computer product sales posted their best year-over-year sales results in nearly four years, jumping 13.6 percent over May 2002.
“It is fitting that these milestones should occur together as they are both important components in the increased movement of the PC out of the home office and into everyday use,” said Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group. “Key to the increased sales, for these and other rapidly evolving product categories, are a desire for computing products that offer portability, appealing form factors and attractive design.”
Laptop sales volumes have been closing the sales gap on the desktop over the past four years. In January 2000, notebooks represented less than 25 percent of sales volume. In May 2003, notebooks were over 54 percent of the nearly US$500 million dollar in retail computer sales. Unit volumes also set a record as notebooks accounted for more than 40 percent of sales.
Also, LCD sales volumes have been steadily rising since flat panel screens began to reach the consumer-affordable level about two years ago. Flat panel monitors accounted for 52 percent of unit sales in May and more than 70 percent of sales dollars. A year ago unit volumes was 22 percent of total monitor sales and revenue for LCDs was 40 percent of the total, according to The NPD Group.