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Notebook Battery Recalls Not Hurting Sales

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

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.

To purchase this document, call IDC’s Sales hotline at 508-988-7988 or email

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Meet IDC’s research analysts at 2007 International CES, where IDC will host three breakfast briefings at the Wynn Las Vegas on January 8th, 9th, and 10th. The briefings will feature IDC’s expert analysts as they discuss opportunities for technology, services, device, content, and hardware vendors to capitalize on trends in consumer markets. Register today at

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. Over 850 IDC analysts in 50 countries provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends. For more than 42 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

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