“Despite the worldwide recession last year, consumers were enthusiastic about notebook PCs, a trend that will persist in 2010 especially for the market’s two fastest-growing segments—the netbook and the CULV notebook,” said Peter Lin, senior analyst for compute platforms at iSuppli.
Overall notebook PC shipments will hit 209.5 million units in 2010, up a robust 25.5 percent from 166.9 million last year, iSuppli figures show. Not only will this year’s growth be higher than the 19 percent increase posted by the market in 2008, it will also exceed expansion levels during the next four years.
Among the notebook PC’s three main segments, the netbook—a more petite notebook version with a screen size smaller than 10.2 inches and priced at less than $500—will ship 34.5 million units in 2010, up 30 percent from 2009. By 2014, netbook shipments are projected to reach 58.3 million units.
In comparison, the CULV notebook—introduced by Intel Corp. in 2009 with a larger form factor than netbooks and priced up to $800—will ship nearly 14.5 million units in 2010, a staggering 93 percent increase from 7.5 million units last year. Given the relative youth of the CULV notebook segment and the extremely low shipment base from which the market started, this year’s growth will be the highest during the 2009 to 2014 period, but the expansion will level out and stabilize in the years to come.
The third segment of the market, the regular notebook, commands the largest shipments at 160.5 million units in 2010. But with growth of just 21 percent from year-ago levels of 132.9 million, the segment shows the smallest growth in the group. Nonetheless, regular notebooks will continue to control the biggest share of notebooks in general at least through 2014, according to iSuppli.
Top Market Performers Stand Out
Taiwan-based Acer Inc. was the No. 1 netbook manufacturer in 2009, a position it retained from 2008 and likely will carry over this year. Boasting competitive pricing, strong channel distribution and faster time to market, Acer shipped 9.8 million units to take 37 percent share of the market. Second-ranked ASUSTeK Computer Inc., also headquartered in Taiwan, saw its market share slide from 37 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2009 after selling
5.5 million netbooks. The rest of the Top 5 manufacturers for 2009 included the Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) in third place, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in fourth and Dell Inc. in fifth. Together, the Top 5 accounted for 90 percent of the market.
Competition among the five is likely to heat up in 2010, with ASUSTeK expected to face challenges on the one hand from HP, which has established strong retail channels, and on the other from Samsung, which maintains close relationship with the telcos.
Acer was also the top manufacturer of CULV notebooks, as the field was relatively free of competition when the company launched the product in the second quarter of 2009 and received strong support from Intel. iSuppli estimates that Acer shipped about 5 million CULV notebooks last year.
Mirroring its second-place finish in the netbook category, ASUSTeK also was the No. 2 player in the CULV notebook market, shipping about 700,000 units. Other manufacturers—including HP, Dell, Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp.—joined the market late and did not attain significant positions in 2009 as a result. iSuppli believes that more participants will enter the CULV notebook market, resulting in the category gradually heating up in 2010 and then steadying afterward.