Brand and Channel Loyalty Declining Among SMB Notebook PC Owners: “Take No SMB Customer For Granted,” Advises IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – June 1, 2009 – Despite the growth of the SMB notebook market overall, brand loyalty among SMBs continues to wane, especially among small businesses. According to a recent IDC survey, roughly 30% of small firms (fewer than 100 employees) and more than 45% of medium-sized businesses (100–999 employees) plan to purchase notebook computers in the next 12 months, but which brands they will purchase may come as a surprise.

SMB preferences for different brands continue to shift as vendors update and refine their notebook PC products and promotions. The availability of new form factors and features, more powerful configurations, and lower prices are changing the competitive landscape. In addition to declining brand loyalty, the overall strength of small business channel loyalty has slipped as well. The total percentage of firms citing plans to buy PCs from the same channels they used in the past 12 months has decreased considerably since IDC's previous survey.

"The continuing shift from desktop to notebook PCs among SMBs is making effective notebook market strategy all the more important," said Justin Jaffe, senior research analyst for SMB Research at IDC. "IDC expects both brand and channel loyalty to become increasingly difficult to sustain, especially among smaller firms. Of course, this also means that the opportunity for vendors to gain share at the expense of competitors will grow."

Additional key findings from this study include the following:

* Dell remains the notebook PC brand owned by the largest percentage of SMBs, but the percentage of small firms that own HP-Compaq notebook PCs has increased considerably.

* The largest percentage of small and medium-sized businesses that plan to buy new notebooks in the next 12 months plan to purchase Dell notebooks. Apple is the brand next most often cited for future acquisition by small businesses and HP-Compaq by medium-sized firms.

* The channel used most often by both small and medium-sized firms for PC purchases is direct response from the manufacturer, with purchasing from manufacturers online more popular than ordering by phone or mail.

This study, 2008 U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Business Notebook PC Brand and Channel Preferences: Small Firms Become Increasingly Slippery Targets (IDC #218246), examines current notebook brand ownership among small and medium-sized businesses as well as the vendors preferred for future purchase. Additionally, this study describes the current channels that small and medium-sized businesses use to purchase PCs and those preferred in the future.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 45 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com[http://www.idc.com].