“It’s been slower that expected,” said Chow, the company’s sales manager, in an interview at the end of August. While many were still on vacation, he acknowledged, he also believed “people are leaving it (buying) later and later . . . hoping something will show up in the coming weeks.”Tim Billing, Ingram Micro’s vice-president of North American retail sales, agreed its August sales were “relatively soft.”
Like Chow, he speculated that buyers were holding off for Labour Day specials.
This is an important time for PC retailers, for back-to-school season is their second biggest selling period.
Others, however, are cheery. In Edmonton, BCom Computer Centre quickly sold out a specially-priced PC at its annual one-day sale.
“We had a lineup of over 120 people trying to get into the store,” reported Sheldon Barton, the company’s corporate sales manager.
The $1,088 sale unit had a 3Ghz Pentium 4 processor, a 200GB hard drive, a DVD burner and a 19-in. LCD monitor.
Both the Edmonton and Calgary stores were sold out of their 200 units.
Jason Laxamana, a product manager at Toshiba of Canada, said laptop sales in June, July and August were “quite crazy.”
“It’s still early . . . but there’s been easily double-digit growth over last August.”
Some of that is due to falling prices, he said, and to the fact that laptops are among the hottest items people want.
Toshiba’s least expensive notebook is a $999 Satellite model with a 15.4-in. screen and a 1.5Ghz Celeron processor.
The Markham, Ont. store of online retailer Tiger Direct said sales were strong last month. “Laptops are hot, PCs are hot, printers are hot,” said store manager Lloyd Ellis.
“We’re pretty encouraged by what we’ve seen so far,” said Chris Fudge, HP Canada’s consumer marketing manager.
PCs are the leading sales driver — he said the company has seen eight consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in desktops — and notebooks continue to have “stellar” growth.
To push sales now HP is offering a US$50 mail-in rebate for buying a PC or laptop with a monitor or printer. He anticipates sales will be better this fall than they were at the same time last year.
Chow noted one trend among buyers: Component sales have increased as PC owners look to upgrade their system instead of buying new ones.