Mini-Notebooks Power 2008 PC Growth

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Figures just released for PC shipments in Q4 2008 reveal the big inroads made by mini-notebooks into the Western European portable market, which drove sales for various leading manufacturers.

Thanks to robust consumer demand in Western Europe in the run up to Christmas, figures released by IDC show that overall EMEA mini-notebook shipments reached 3.6 million units in 2008, in line with expectations, representing 20% of total portable sales and 30% of consumer portables in EMEA in the fourth quarter.

Positioned as a secondary device for Internet-centric use and representing the first affordable ultraportables in the retail channel, mini-notebooks drove strong consumer momentum and caused an important boom in figures for the second half of 2008.

“As expected, mini-notebooks were one of the most sought-after items in the Christmas season, particularly in Western Europe, which represented over 80% of volumes,” said Eszter Morvay, research manager at IDC’s EMEA personal computing group. “Driven by strong vendor and channel push, consumers benefited from the plethora of new models appearing on the shelves from October onwards, and the explosion in the product offering stimulated fierce competition for shelf space. Following in the footsteps of Asus, there are currently more than 50 vendors, from international players to local assemblers, with a mini-notebook offering across EMEA, which is clearly contributing to the ongoing buoyancy.”

The telco channel has also been playing a pivotal role in the development of the EMEA mini-notebook market. While telco operators have been looking at the notebook market for some time to drive new revenue sources, mini-notebooks offer a better fit in terms of value proposition – small and attractive products at lower price, therefore lower subsidy costs. Telco operators also offered additional exposure, which acted as a major accelerator of mini-notebook demand.

In terms of vendor highlights, the mini-notebook surge in the final quarter of 2008 has been good for various manufacturers. Acer, which launched Aspire One last June and the Packard Bell Dot in October 2008, leads the field but newcomers such as Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and Dell, which launched mini-notebooks in the fourth quarter – the Compaq Mini 700, the NC10 and the Inspiron Mini respectively – also took a slice of the action.

Asus on the other hand continued to play a pivotal role in the market from a branding standpoint. During the fourth quarter, the manufacturer enjoyed strong demand for the Eee PC family and benefited from a large and expanding number of telco partnerships across EMEA.

Top 5 Vendors: EMEA Mini-Notebook Shipments, 4Q08
Vendor Units (000) Shipments 4Q 2008
Acer 1,095 30.3%
Asus 1,011 28.0%
HP 253 7.0%
Samsung 232 6.4%
Dell 156 4.3%
Others 864 23.9%
TOTAL 3,610 100%
Source: IDC EMEA Quarterly PC Tracker, Final Results, 4Q08