Where Laptop Searchers Land Online

Although they won’t get as much fanfare as the iPhone or the Wii, especially this holiday season, laptops remain a necessity. When it comes to purchasing one, consumers have a dizzying array of choices, everything from brand to operating system to size to where to buy.

To get a general idea of where laptop researchers are going online, I looked at where people who used terms including the word "˜laptop’ on major search engines were directed. The chart below shows the top 10 sites that these people were referred to by keyword share, or the percentage of all traffic generated by searches including the keyword "˜laptop’ that went to a particular site.

  • Manufacturers hold two of the top three spots: Dell, with nearly 5% keyword share, and HP, with just over 2.5%.
  • Aggregator sites, such as Yahoo!, eBay, Amazon and Nextag where you can shop from a variety of vendors for a variety of models, are popular, capturing 9% keyword share within the top 10.
  • Review sites like notebookreview.com and CNet, also appear in the top 10 list as consumers rely more and more on third party sites for advice.
  • The variety of sources in the top 10 search-referred domains suggests that researchers are turning to different kinds of sites both to gather information about laptops and to buy them, online or off. What does this mean for players in this market?
  • Dell and HP are doing something right. The prominence of Dell and HP suggests that their search marketing strategies, and likely the strength of their brands, are driving traffic to their websites. The next closest manufacturer by keyword share is Apple, ranked 12th, followed by Toshiba (#14), Lenovo (#22) and Acer (#29).
  • Online researchers want options. Whether they’re out to compare features or price, the strength of aggregator sites suggests that people want to evaluate models, compare cost, and have flexibility to browse across brands and price levels.
  • Review sites are getting attention. Even though sellers’ sites often provide user reviews, the presence of CNet and notebookreviews.com in the top 10 suggests that many consumers are looking for professional and peer reviews from a third party source.

Laptops may not be the flashiest item on the CE holiday list this year, but they are becoming an increasingly important tool at work and at home. With a better understanding of how people look for laptops on the web, manufacturers, retailers, and advertisers can reach consumers online, whether they’re just browsing or ready to buy.

Going to the Consumer Electronics Show? Catch Adam Guy’s presentation on Shifting Content Across Time, Place and Device at CES on January 9th. Contact Elaine Warner to set up a meeting at the show.

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