Although netbook and notebook sound the same, they are not. According The NPD Group, many consumers believe the two have the same functionalities. NPD's Netbooks II: A Closer Look report, found that 60 percent of consumers who purchased a netbook instead of a notebook thought their netbooks would have the same functionality as notebooks.
That confusion about functionality is leading to some dissatisfaction. Only 58 percent of consumers who bought a netbook instead of a notebook said they were very satisfied with their purchase, compared to 70 percent of consumers who planned on buying a netbook from the start.
Satisfaction was even harder to ascertain among 18- to 24-year-olds, one of the main demographics manufacturers were hoping to win over with the new products. Among that age group, 65 percent said they bought their netbooks expecting better performance, and only 27 percent said their netbooks performed better than expected.
One marketing aspect that has interested buyers is the portability factor. It's been the key marketing tool for netbook manufacturers, and consumers agree that it is a great feature. Sixty percent of them said that was a main reason they bought their netbooks. However, once they got home, 60 percent of buyers said they never even took their netbooks out of the house.
"We need to make sure consumers are buying a PC intended for what they plan to do with it," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "There is a serious risk of cannibalization in the notebook market that could cause a real threat to netbooks' success. Retailers and manufacturers can't put too much emphasis on PC-like capabilities and general features that could convince consumers that a netbook is a replacement for a notebook. Instead, they should be marketing mobility, portability, and the need for a companion PC to ensure consumers know what they are buying and are more satisfied with their purchases."
Nearly 600 adults from NPD's online panel who were identified as netbook owners completed this survey between April 27 and May 4, 2009.