Notebook PCs in 2010 are on track to post solid double-digit growth due to improved economic conditions worldwide as well as the expected expansion of two high-achieving segments, netbooks and Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage (CULV) notebooks, according to a recent report by research firm iSuppli Corp. 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-smaller, cheaper version of a notebook, will ship 34.5 million units in 2010, up 30 percent from 2009, iSuppli projected. 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 whopping 93 percent increase from 7.5 million units last year. iSuppli said predicted 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. "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.
Taiwan-based Acer was the top netbook manufacturer in 2009, a position it retained from 2008 and which iSuppli said is likely will carry over this year. Acer's competitive pricing, strong channel distribution and faster time to market were citied as factors in its shipping 9.8 million units to take 37 percent share of the market. Second-ranked Asus 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 five manufacturers for 2009 included Hewlett-Packard (HP) in third place, Samsung in fourth and Dell in fifth. Together, the top five accounted for 90 percent of the market, iSuppli reported.