The fast-moving notebook category offers retailers high margins. VIP Computers’ notebooks product manager Mark Lynch tells PCR about the latest products, how the market for laptops is changing and what’s next for the sector.
PCR: How has the notebook sector evolved in recent years?
Mark Lynch: Notebooks have moved from being a quite generic looking chassis, regardless of make, bought on price and spec, to a wide variety of devises bought for looks and features.
Products like the ASUS Zenbook and MSI Dragon gaming notebooks are a world away from where we were 18 months ago. Gaming is a huge growth area for us and we expect to see this ‘niche’ market really take off in Q3 and Q4. We’re also finally seeing better uptake of touch notebooks.
Which products do you supply? Do you have any new vendors on board?
Although they’re not exactly new, we currently stock ASUS And MSI.
ASUS offers award-winning, cutting edge home and business notebooks for all scenarios. They’re high quality products. MSI offers market-leading gaming notebooks – a growing market here in the UK. There’s a high revenue and strong profit opportunity for retailers.
Are there any notebook deals on offer as part of your VIP Club?
We do offer specific notebook deals to VIP Club members exclusively to them. It’s not something we advertise, so if independent resellers want to receive great deals, just join the VIP Club.
What challenges does the sector face?
Profitability and lack thereof on traditional notebooks. As the market is showing inconsistency, there are still a lot of ongoing price wars, which are stripping out the channel margin to clear inventory.
And what about the opportunities?
Profitability on the new high-end technologies. Ultrabooks are finally seeing some traction. Gaming notebooks are seeing strong growth too, all of which are high-ticket and high-margin products.
Laptops are popular with students. What other types of consumers can retailers target with these products?
A big opportunity is with younger students. Traditionally the ‘student’ definition has been towards GCSE age or university goers. However, as a dad I’ve seen my five year old become PC literate very quickly. This has got to be a growth market where primary and lower-secondary aged kids will be needing notebooks, forcing households to purchase a second or third PC.
How will the market change?
I think traditional notebooks will get slimmer and more powerful as ultrabooks become more mainstream, but there will be a merger between tablet and notebook as more hybrid devices start to enter the market. Windows 8 was supposed to be the springboard for these touch/hybrid technologies, but only now have most manufacturers bought into the idea.
VIP Computers: 0871 622 7500
VIP Computers is currently pushing the following laptops to retail:
ASUS S200CA/S400CA touch Vivobooks
These feature intuitive touch, Sonic Master audio for richer sound performance, a sleek and light trendsetting design, plus an Intel Core I3 processor. They are priced at around £399.99 each.
MSI GE60 (various models)
This laptop boasts top end gaming specs and features, and is priced from £799. It has a full HD 1920x1080 Anti Glare Screen with backlit LED, MSI Audio Boost, one-touch Cooler Boost and Turbo Drive Engine (TDE) technology. Just push the Turbo button to overclock and increase GPU performance.
VIP Computers: 0871 622 7500