Netbooks, the latest generation of small computers, are still so new that many consumers aren’t even sure what they’re buying. A recent NPD study found rampant consumer confusion between the netbook and notebook segment. And it turns out that some consumers aren’t so happy with the product they purchased.1120059_notepad_1

Could this be all about marketing the wrong features? According to NPD, manufacturers have been targeting 18-24 year old consumers with their marketing campaigns. And this age group has been buying, apparently expecting the power and performance of a laptop in a smaller case and for a lot less money. But over half of these purchasers were disappointed to discover that netbooks lack serious power.

The NPD study indicates that a better marketing campaign might alleviate the problem. The company suggests that marketers promote the mobility and portability of netbooks – the features that make these products unique. This computing segment should be considered a product line extension, a companion for a PC, not a replacement. Setting expectations with the right marketing angle could go a long way toward protecting brand reputation.

[Source: NPD release, 6.22.09]