Notebook prices might still be falling, but new research from Context indicates that the rate of descent is slowing.
The average selling price of a notebook PC sold by resellers in Europe's top three economies - the UK, Germany and France - was 7.2 per cent lower in May this year than in January. This compares with an 11.4 per cent drop over the same period in 2003.
The data comes from Context's SalesWatch service, which monitors PC sales to end-users by resellers.
"The rate of price decline in the notebook sector is slowing down and may be starting to plateau," claimed Jeremy Davies, senior partner at Context.
"The low price of notebooks today is astonishing: about £800 in the mainstream segment. Vendors have been working hard to reduce the prices, but it has to stop somewhere. The signs are that it is finally stopping."
John Turner, business manager at distributor Midwich, agreed. He said: "Notebooks are now commodity products, so you have to look for the value-add. The margins are very tight for everyone in the channel right now, and making money off the product itself is getting harder.
"We are working with Samsung and Acer to create value-add bundles for resellers, to encourage them to start offering customers something more than the notebook itself. This is what the retail chains and online stores are very good at, from extra batteries, memory or cables to extended warranties."
Notebook PC prices in the second-tier dealer channel - a mix of SME resellers, large retailers and e-tailers - fell the most across all three countries. Price battles in the SME arena led to prices dropping by 10.3 per cent over the first five months of 2004.
The SME sector, according to Context, is the key notebook segment and will continue to be so for some time.
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