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Netbook Sales Drive Computer Purchases

Smaller laptops are a bright spot in otherwise grim recession for computer sales

As the American economy retrenches, the computer industry may be a window on how tech businesses are faring.

PC sales are way down; however experts predict a big driver for computer sales in the next 18 months will be smaller computers. Think notebooks and netbooks.

Time reports the growing popularity of smaller and lighter computers, which often have faster processing speeds and pack a lighter hit to your pocketbook, are a bright spot. In fact, sales data from NPD shows technology unit sales were up 10% in May ��� though revenues declined 11% compared to last May. That’s because while companies are selling more units, the prices of those individual computers is dropping, as most of the growth is fueled by netbooks, according to analysts from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

And handhelds are the other source of growth for the tech industry. I note that Apple said this week that sales of its new iPhone 3G S had surpassed 1 million units. Time believes such strong sales will offset the trends in Apple computer sales until the recession recedes.

Apparently I’m part of the trend of purchasing lighter, smaller personal computers. I recently upgraded to a netbook, specifically wanting a lighter computer for travel and to haul around town. I paid half as much as I did five years ago, and got a unit that’s smaller, lighter and has more processing speed and a longer-lasting battery. As a bonus, the USB and other ports are more conveniently placed on the sides rather than stacked in one location on the back of the unit.