IDC Survey Measures Impact of Battery Recalls on Notebook PC Buying Behavior, Just in Time for Holiday Shopping Season

FRAMINGHAM, MA – NOVEMBER 29, 2006 – As the holiday shopping season heats up, uncertainty about the safety of notebooks threatens a key growth market for the PC industry. Notebook PC vendors, including Dell, Apple, Lenovo, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Panasonic, Gateway, and Sony, have all issued battery recalls since August 2006 because a percentage of notebook batteries were overheating and in some cases causing fires. While only a small percentage of notebook batteries have exhibited the problem, companies are widely recalling the batteries for the sake of consumer safety. IDC says the wave of battery recalls this fall has not yet caused enough frustration to turn customers off from the notebook market, but enough concern has been generated to potentially change customer buying preferences.

To measure the impact of the battery recalls on the notebook PC buyer segment, IDC surveyed about 500 corporate IT decision makers and directors from small, medium, and large businesses and more than 200 consumer PC buyers in late October 2006. Results of the survey show that 85 percent of respondents say the battery recalls will not impact future notebook PC purchasing decisions. However, 15 percent of both corporate and consumer buyers say they will alter their buying because of the recalls. IDC says this is enough of an impact to sway market share, especially in the corporate segment where buyers purchase large volumes, but not enough to have dramatic effects.

"The silver lining is that most of the customers we surveyed aren't foregoing notebook purchases," says Richard Shim, senior research analyst with IDC's Personal Computing program. "Instead, a small percentage indicate that they will alter their brand preference, meaning that vendors have an opportunity to win over new customers, forming new market dynamics."

The IDC study, Notebook PC Buyer Segment Survey: Analyzing the Impact of the Battery Recall (IDC #204289), discusses the results of IDC's battery recall survey. The goal of our polling of about 500 corporate PC purchasers and more than 200 consumer PC buyers was to determine the following: how many buyers were affected by recent Sony notebook battery recalls; how many participated in the recalls; and how the recalls will impact future notebook PC purchases.

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