Best Buy CEO hails laptops as tablet market's saviour

It's often said that tablets are cannibalising sales of laptops and PCs, but Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly has predicted that the opposite is true, and that laptops could actually help tablet sales get back on track.

Sales for tablets have fallen below expectations despite widespread customer adoption, and Joly attributes this to the boom in popularity those devices experienced from the outset. The demand for tablets has now become a "replacement market" much like with PCs, and the technology can't keep up.

He told Re/code: "From a technology standpoint, customers now have a broad range of choices with the tablets and the phones. So some of us have a phone and a tablet and a laptop, but many people can now converge to either a tablet and a phone or a phone and a laptop.

"The tablets boomed and now are crashing. The volume has really gone down in the last several months. But I think the laptop has something of a revival because it's becoming more versatile."

This versatility is exemplified by Apple, he says, with the Mac introducing continuity with iOS devices with its latest operating system.

Speaking further on the current position of tablets, he claims that consumers are much less aware of when they're supposed to upgrade than with other technology, and so demand for replacements has slowed down rapidly ever since the initial flurry of sales.

"I think replacement is the issue," he continues. "The penetration has gone so fast that it's reaching an amazing degree and therefore it becomes more of a replacement market, and the level of innovation in the past year has not been as great as it had been in the previous two years."

Devices such as Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 have pledged to combine laptops and tablets into one experience, which could boost sales for both across the next few years.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

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