Acer is proving that its notebooks can hold their own against the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
The Taiwan-based PC maker outpaced all other vendors in the fourth quarter of 2006, as its worldwide shipment of notebooks increased by more than 45 percent compared to the third quarter, according to a new report by iSuppli, a market research firm.
In the fourth quarter, Acer shipped about 3.4 million notebooks compared to the 2.3 million it shipped in the third quarter. HP, the worlds leading PC vendor, saw its notebooks shipments increase by more than 32 percent in the same time period.
Acer—its U.S. subsidiary is based in San Jose, Calif.—has used aggressive marketing and pricing to show customers that its notebooks are viable alternatives to ones produced by Dell and HP. As a result, Acers numbers increased in the fourth quarter and it knocked Toshiba out of third place on the iSuppli list.
"The company has been very public about its intention to capture the No. 3 spot in the mobile-PC market—and the fourth-quarter ranking shows the company is putting its money where its mouth is," Matthew Wilkins, an analyst with iSuppli, wrote in the firms April 5 report.
Overall, the laptop market increased 15.7 percent in the fourth quarter. iSuppli found that laptops shipments topped 23 million in the last quarter of 2006 compared to the 20 million units shipped in the third quarter.
For the year, notebook shipments increased 28 percent to 79.6 million units in 2006. In 2005, vendors shipped nearly 62 million laptops.
In the fourth quarter, HP held its lead by shipping more than 5 million notebooks worldwide. In addition, the IT giant watched its laptop shipments increase by 52 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2005.
Acer saw its fourth quarter year-to-year notebook shipments increase by 49 percent.
Lenovo was the other winner in the iSuppli study. The companys notebook shipments increased 9 percent from the third quarter to the fourth quarter and its year-to-year shipments—fourth quarter 2006 compared to fourth-quarter 2005—increased nearly 18 percent.
Dell and Toshiba actually saw their shipments drop in the fourth quarter by about 1 percent each. For 2006, Dell saw its notebook shipments increase about 4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2005, while Toshibas increased nearly 18 percent.
Analysts with iSuppli also found that Asia-based PC vendors—Acer, Toshiba and Lenovo—while not ready to compete with first-tier OEMs, have shown that their products can make a significant impact in the worldwide PC market.
"Looking at the Top 5 PC OEMs, they are definitely separated into the major and minor leagues, with Hewlett-Packard and Dell alone in the majors," Wilkins wrote in the report.
"However, todays minor leaguers could be tomorrows major leaguers. Thus, current market-share developments for the Asia/Pacific mobile-PC OEMs could give us a glimpse into the future of top-tier competition in the market."