After Apple's iPad announcement in January almost one in three buyers in the market for a netbook held off on their purchase, and then bought an Apple iPad tablet instead of opting for a netbook.

During the last few years, netbook sales have surged as consumers looked for a portable device that was capable enough to meet their basic internet and computing needs whist not breaking the bank.

According to a May 24 report by consumer electronic site Retrevo those figures may soon change as mainstream consumers become increasingly aware of and seduced by the tablet form factor.

The economic crisis increased the low-cost netbook market share, but has also been somewhat responsible for bringing down the price of bulkier laptops. In the midst of this laptop price war, Apple's relatively expensive tablet is still managing to sway would-be purchasers away from the netbook segment.

Out of the more than 1,000 respondents located in the US, 78 percent of those currently in the market for either a netbook or an iPad are leaning towards purchasing an iPad.

"Intel recently claimed netbooks, were going to sell well in countries like Mexico and India where they may serve as primary computers. However, don't expect to see the record growth continue for netbook sales in the U.S." wrote Retrevo on May 24.

"As consumers find the iPad irresistible and inexpensive laptops more practical we predict netbook sales will get squeezed from two sides and will not be able to maintain past growth rates. That said, netbooks should continue to get cheaper and faster and will continue to be an attractive alternative to laptops or other mobile Internet devices."

Market researcher Gartner confirmed the trend in their May 26 report on Worldwide PC Shipments, predicting that the impact of media tablets sales on netbooks and mini-notebooks would start to been seen in the next few years.

"Media tablets will not impact the mini-notebook segment this year," Raphael Vasquez, research analyst at Gartner said. "However, media tablets, such as the iPad and similar devices, will significantly detract from mini-notebook shipments in 2013 and onward, when we expect their prices to be lower and, more importantly, their functionality to be more similar to mini-notebooks."