AMD Studies Consumer Confusion On PC Buying

Coinciding with the holiday season, AMD says consumers are -- quite frankly -- confused about what they need to buy when they're shopping for a computer. I spoke with AMD about their new initiative to help educate consumers about modern day computing needs. And I got some clues about where AMD is heading next in the corporate market (hint: It involves the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2011). Here's the update.

For some background on AMD's research, check out an AMD press release here, along with a link to their recent VISION Technology efforts. I spoke to Tracey Carroll, director of North American marketing at AMD for a little more color. She says VISION has been ostensibly designed to provide an easy questionnaire interface that provides a "good, better, best" option for buying computers (both for computer parts and packages as a whole). But now, AMD is ramping up their efforts to make VISION even 'easier' along with calling on all manufacturers to adopt this style instead of throwing around speeds and feeds like gigahertz and gigabytes.

According to AMD research:

  • 23% of consumers find the PC buying process confusing (frankly we're surprised the figure isn't higher).
  • 69% of those confused buyers say the main issue with 'understanding the technology.'
  • 57% of consumers saw buying a new computer more like replacing a run-down appliance than a pleasant shopping experience.
  • Performance was favored over price almost 2:1.
  • 64% of those surveyed also said that assistance from salespeople was helpful (which amazes me, considering some of the conversations I've witnessed in major retail stores).
I asked Carroll how AMD plans to advertise and brand, especially since Intel maintains such aggressive branding and marketing campaigns of its own. Notes Carroll: "We invest not in promoting our own brand, it's about [investing in] how the consumer uses the PC. [We] support our OEM and retail partners." She said that retail sales associates who can better understand AMD will also be influential to the decision making process for customers.

A 'Common-sense, plain-English' style approach for selling to the consumer could lead to a better overall knowledge and increased consumerization in the business world, Carroll says. At the same time, educating the general public about computer choices can help to increase end-user demand for VARs and MSPs.

And just for fun, AMD's stance hit home with a similar approach Toshiba has taken with a recent commercial:



So where is AMD heading next? We picked up some clues about the company's plans for the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We'll be back soon with details.

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