The notebook market faces a slew of challenges, as it struggles against the might of mini rival- the tablet.
Digitimes Research expects global notebook shipments will suffer a further drop in 2013, as the PC category faces tough price pressure from tablets, which are continuing to fall in price.
The report, out today, suggests notebook shipments will slip under the 200,000 million mark this year – down from 2011 and is set to stay at sluggish until 2015.
This slump is despite the launch of Windows 8 in October which was supposed to give a boost to the notebook market, with several makers all releasing fresh models on Microsoft’s new platform.
Consumers can buy a trendy tablet like Google’s Nexus 7 for $269, while although notebooks have gone down in price (a look at JB Hi Fi reveals one can be bought for as little as $312 – a HP Pavillion 13″) they are seen as bulkier and less portable than iPad and Co.
There are other issues at play: notebook makers are looking to develop more detachable designs and questions about the health of the global economy, notes the research report.
However, despite the poor market conditions, some Lenovo, Apple, Asus and Samsung, are still expected to achieve shipment growth in 2013.
But they are about the only ones.
“Overall only a few notebook players can achieve an outstanding performance in 2013,” according to Digitimes, meaning the likes of HP, And Acer could be hard pressed.
Although Windows 8 will only have a limited effect on boosting notebook demand next year, it will accelerate the penetration of touch based notebooks, which has the most potential in terms of growth.
Devices with solid state drives (SSD) as the main storage device will also give growth a leg up, thanks to Apple, the research states.
However, the research also suggests there’s no good news for Ultrabooks in 2013.
As notebook prices drop, “the continued relative high prices associated [with Ultrabooks] make it unlikely the platform will see strong success in 2013.”
However, one major Aussie retailer begs to differ on the Ultrabook issue.
JB Hi-Fi Marketing Manager, Scott Browning, says Intel Ultrabooks, the sleek notebook category, are proving very popular among consumers at the moment, with Asus, HP, Samsung and Dell (which has a model for under $800), the big movers in the PC space as are tablets like iPad, Samsung Tab 10.1.
And on Windows 8, Browning says there’s a lot more products on Microsoft’s new OS to come in 2013, saying at the moment the retailer has just “a trickle of products” ..but it will be January-March period, or Q1 2013, when the fledging platform will “really peak” when back to school and Uni demand comes into play.
But whether it will be notebooks tech savvy students will be buying is another matter.
“Its a question of price,” but PC users value mobility and battery life is also an important consideration for some, says Browning on Ultrabook demand.
“At this stage tablets appear to be incremental and it would be difficult to conclude the true impact on notebooks until after March when the peak selling period is behind us.”
Research Company IHS iSuppli claims only 6% of computer sales took place in the premium $1,000 or higher price band in 2012, while consumer “infatuation” with tablets and smartphones are also impacting on notebook sales.