Netbooks On The Rise While Notebook Sales Remain Flat


Worldwide shipments of netbook PCs are expected to reach nearly 33 million units in 2009, according to a new report

Worldwide netbook shipments are expected to reach nearly 33 million units in 2009, according to analysis firm DisplaySearch. Shipments of full-sized notebook computers — while expected to reach 129.5 million units — are expected to be flat, year over year, for the first time.

In its 13 July “Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report,” DisplaySearch reveals that netbook penetration rates are likely to exceed 26 percent in Latin America and 22 percent in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), with the lowest penetration rates in Asia-Pacific, North America and China.

DisplaySearch ties the growth of netbooks to several factors. One of these is telecoms that offer netbooks at subsidised rates, similar to the way most smartphones are offered.

“As smartphone penetration continues to increase in North America… it will become increasingly necessary for telecoms to find their next revenue stream as the incremental revenue increase from smartphone subscribers slows,” according to the firm’s findings.

In emerging markets, such as Latin America, low price point contributed to the success of netbooks. However, John Jacobs, author of the report, says it’s clear that users want light devices but bigger displays, and they’re still using the netbooks as companion PCs.

“While these devices have certainly created a new market, our research indicates that they are predominantly used as secondary PCs by consumers, and are not replacing notebooks,” said Jacobs in the statement.

The continued growth of netbooks is one reason DisplaySearch expects notebook demand to remain flat. The other is the economy.

“Businesses responded quickly to the economic downturn by cutting purchasing, especially of expensive IT-related products,” writes the firm. “The launch of Windows 7 in late October this year, if combined with economic recovery, could lead to a rapid recovery in enterprise notebook PC demand; however, DisplaySearch does not expect this to occur until 2010.”

The report forecasts the strongest year-to-year growth for netbook to be 88.1 percent in Latin America (88. 1 percent), North America (136.9 percent) and Greater China (260.3 percent). The area of lowest netbook growth is Japan, with a predicted 29.1 percent year-to-year growth.

In the notebook market, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Greater China saw the largest year-to-year growth, though none exceeded 23 percent. The lowest growth, again, was in Japan, where numbers fell to -13 percent.

Of the 33 million netbook units expected to ship in 2009, the EMEA region accounts for 13.3 million units, North America for 8.8 million and Greater China, the third highest, for 3.9 million.

Of the 129.5 million notebook units expected to ship in 2009, 46.7 will head to EMEA, 39.9 million to North America and 16 million to Greater China.

Researcher iSuppli recently predicted that worldwide shipments of wirelessly enabled netbooks will reach 36.3 million units by 2012.

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