The Laptop Market
A research study to evaluate the brand name and its environment
Research Category: T/Brand
HP is one of the three leading laptop brands in the Israeli market. The laptop market targets a variety of groups: students, who are especially concerned with prices; gadget-geeks and techies, who are looking for the most advanced systems; design aficionados, who are primarily seeking a sophisticated computer that looks good; and also the people who don’t get emotionally involved in this category and only view the computer as a work and entertainment tool. However, what all these groups have in common is the tendency to share information and opinions online. The conversation about laptops is mainly dominated by requests for advice and brand comparisons, and many people consult expert forums for recommendations.
In order to better understand the laptop market and identify consumer perceptions of leading brands, Buzzilla conducted a research study based on its T/Brand methodology, which assesses the brand and its environment, including its Talkability Index. This model examined the volume of conversation about each brand during the second quarter of 2010, together with the opinions expressed. The combination of these parameters brought to light the perceived strength of HP, while also identifying the relative benefits of its competitors. In addition, analysis of the conversations and their participants contributed important information about each brand's target audience.
Analysis of the data revealed a relatively complex picture. During the three-month investigation period, the volume of conversations about HP totaled approximately 1,100, with approximately 68% positive sentiment. The conversation index of the HP brand, however, was lower than that of Dell, which topped it in both conversation volume and the rate of positive sentiment.
The situation of a newer brand, Lenovo, was interesting: although it suffered from significantly lower conversation volume in comparison to its two competitors, the positive sentiment about it ranked higher.
Analysis of HP conversation online revealed that those talking about the brand fell into three groups: typical households, advanced online gamers (primarily young people), and users with a deeper technological understanding who were mainly focused on technical performance.
Among the positive factors revealed in conversation about HP were the advanced and progressive features of most HP computers. Analysis revealed that the brand was highly regarded among both home and business users seeking reliable, lightweight models with maximum portability and ease of use in different environments. The conversation about HP included many discussions about the company's small notebook computers, which demonstrated favorable market positioning in terms of reliability as well as price. However, analysis of HP conversation also revealed perceived inferiority when it came to quality of service and the warranty period. This presented a challenge as well as an opportunity: improvement in these areas would likely contribute to more positive perceptions and enable the company to lure a market segment away from its competitor, Dell.
Analysis of the various groups discussing HP showed that this brand did not suit the gamer audience, due to their unique requirements (processor power, screen resolution, and other specifications). From their conversation, it emerged that quite a few young Israelis had thought about using a HP computer for gaming, but a sizable number of "experts" recommended competing models as more suitable from a specification standpoint.
Regarding the relative positioning of competitors in this category, it appeared that the main source of Lenovo's strength came from the business sector, influenced by the reputation of IBM (which sold its laptop computer division to Lenovo). Dell, in contrast, was supported by uniform strength across a varied audience, due to its wide variety of models and its perceived image as a reliable, quality name brand.
Today, HP is in a pretty good position. The brand enjoys high exposure, and the company's computers are recommended to a wide variety of target audiences for home and business use.