Retrevo, a product search engine, says it polled more than 300 of its 4 million monthly visitors and found that the "majority of student laptop shoppers will not consider buying a Mac," the company reported in an Aug. 18 statement.
According to Retrevo, 34 percent of students said they want laptops that are small and lightweight, while 49 percent wanted full-size PC laptops. Price was also a considerable factor.
"While Apple has done well historically in the education market, 2009 marks the dawn of the netbook," said Retrevo CEO Vipin Jain, in a statement.
"Students told us they wanted longer battery life, smaller size and a lighter laptop. [Fifty-eight] percent of them plan on spending less than $750.00. Only 18 percent have a budget over $1,000. Netbooks are affordable; some costing only $170. In contrast, Apple laptops start at $949."
Jain added: "At a time when many people are experiencing economic hardship, having a new Apple laptop isn't a necessity."
It's worth noting that the students weren't asked the types of functionalities they would need their laptops to perform. The differences between an Apple laptop and a netbook, of course, extend beyond their price points.
It's relevant to note, too, that approximately only 7 percent of computers in the United States are Macs, according to Technology Business Research. And that's after OS X use tripled from 25 million to 75 million users between 2007 and 2009, as Phil Schiller explained at this year's Worldwide Developer Conference.
With Mac users representing less than 10 percent of all computer users, and 18 percent of Retrevo's shoppers saying they have a budget over $1,000, is it entirely accurate to say that Apple laptops are being overlooked by students this year?
"Retailers are working overtime to attract students," said Jain in the statement. "Wal-Mart expanded its laptop selection by 40 percent and partnered with Hewlett-Packard to make a $298 Compaq Presario. Best Buy introduced the Next Class laptop line. The problem this year isn't finding deals, it's finding the best product for your budget."
Apple is currently offering students a free iPod Touch with the purchase of a MacBook-a deal that ends Sept. 8.