Unplanned Purchases Don’t Happen at the Checkout Stand; Tablets are the New Impulse Buy in Canada

One in three tablet purchases are made spontaneously, doubling category sales in 2013 

TORONTO, April 16, 2013 – Price is no longer the principal factor when purchasing a new computer, according to a new study by The NPD Group, Understanding the Canadian PC and Tablet Buyer. Rather, ‘type of device’ has risen in rank as the top motivation. Thirty-seven per cent of buyers now base their decision on personal needs with tablets leading the way in growth, doubling category sales since 2012. Of tablet purchases, one in three is an impulse buy, compared to one in five for notebooks and one in four for desktops.

“Unlike buyers of desktops and notebooks, we’re seeing more spontaneous tablet purchases,” said Darrel Ryce, director, Technology & Entertainment at The NPD Group . “Shoppers are impressed not only by the technology, but also by the ease and mobility of these devices. Combine this with competitive pricing and it’s easy to understand why tablets are putting the pressure on the desktop and notebook segments.”

In contrast to the rise in the tablet category, sales for desktops and notebooks slumped in 2012, with desktops dropping 12 per cent and notebooks falling 19 per cent versus 2011. While not the primary decision factor, price continues to contribute to the growth of the tablet market. On average, Canadian buyers spend  a total of $627 on tablets annually, including accessories for these devices.  This overall spend is $300 less than what consumers spend on their notebooks and $500 less than on desktops.

Of those shoppers who plan their computer purchases, 53 per cent intend to buy a tablet in the next two years. Only 43 per cent plan to purchase a desktop and 35 per cent intend to purchase a notebook over the next four or more years.

“Tablets are being purchased as an additional device, not replacing the primary desktop or notebook, so they are bought more frequently,” continued Ryce. “In particular, the desktop PC repurchase cycle is being extended. With an average of three computers in the home, Canadians are opting to wait longer to buy a new desktop now that they have multiple – and often more convenient – technology to work with.”

Differences in buying habits continue to be seen when it comes to the long-standing battle of PC versus Apple. In particular, Apple buyers are, first and foremost, much more concerned with brand (45 per cent versus 11 per cent of PC buyers), followed by type of device (38 per cent versus 36 per cent of PC buyers). Apple buyers are also more selective when choosing retail outlets. While PC buyers choose retailers largely based on price (34 per cent versus eight per cent of Apple buyers), Apple buyers focus on retailers who carry the brand and place greater trust in the knowledge of sales staff.

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Daina Astwood-George
APEX Public Relations
416-924-4442 ext. 235

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

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