European mobile phone retailers are placing large bets that connected laptops will be the product segment that boosts year-end figures in the sales lead-up to Christmas.
One of the largest retailers, Carphone Warehouse, claims that mobile data is the clear potential growth area, driven by the explosion of social networking and the fact that penetration within the mobile data market remains at less than 20 per cent.
To help crank up sales the company refreshed its entire laptop range last week, and announced that it swallowed a margin hit of €550,000 in one week, earlier this month, as it sold 9,000 laptops at a loss in a bid to clear its old stock. This was in the belief that it will easily make up the shortfall on its new stock during the Christmas rush.
Neil Old, Carphone's commercial director for wireless products, said that it was the company's intention to do to mobile computing what it had achieved within the mobile phone market. "‘We're masters at matching the customer's need to a product and an appropriate tariff, and we've got some really compelling propositions, with all the new laptops available for free on certain tariffs. It's going to be a massive area this Christmas--and will be the category that delivers the largest percentage growth year on year, without question."
Carphone's new range is focused on the launch of the eagerly anticipated Windows 7 platform and includes 12 new laptops and netbooks, including Dell, Samsung and Sony models.
The market research firm GfK reported that netbook sales increased by 120 per cent in September this year, compared with September 2008. A total of 270,000 netbooks were sold in Q3 this year, with 14 per cent of those sold on subsidised deals through mobile retailers.
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