Best Buy CEO says tablet sales ‘are crashing’ but it’s not that simple

July 30, 2014
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The issue Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy, explained in an interview with the site re/code, is that consumers aren’t upgrading to new models as quickly as the company expected. Another issue is that the definition of what a tablet is continues to evolve.

“The tablets boomed and now are crashing,” said Joly. “The volume has really gone down in the last several months.”

But he also said laptop sales have been doing better, particularly the so-called two-in-one models that can work both as a laptop or a tablet.

“So, with the two-in-ones, you have the opportunity to have both a tablet and laptop, and that’s appealing to students in particular,” said Joly. “So you have an evolution. The boundaries are not as well defined as they used to be.

“If you take the [Microsoft] Surface, is it a tablet or a laptop? I think it’s both.”

In some ways Joly said the tablet has been the victim of its own success in that many consumers are happy sticking with the model they bought a few years ago rather than upgrade. 

“The issue has then been that, once you have a tablet of a certain generation, it’s not clear that you have to move on to the next generation,” said Joly.

Which sounds like he thinks tablet sales can bounce back if tablet makers can produce more innovative, compelling models.

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