Global Notebook Shipments Down 4% and Expected to Fall More: Report

A new TrendForce study says it expects notebook shipments to fall even more in the second half of 2016, due to current high inventories.

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Shipments of notebook computers around the world fell 4 percent to 74.18 million units in the first half of 2016, compared to the same period a year ago, and additional declines are expected in the second half of the year, according to a new report from research firm TrendForce.

The first-half drop in shipments and the anticipated further second-half shipment reductions come as the notebook market approaches its back-to-school sales season and end-of-year holiday sales opportunities. Part of the reason for the expected drop in shipments in the second half of the year is that inventories are high now in preparation for back-to-school sales, according to the report.

"Notebook sales usually enter the peak period during the last six months of the year," Anita Wang, a notebook analyst for TrendForce, said in a statement. "For this year's second half, however, branded notebook vendors will be facing shortages and price hikes for numerous key components. This will create pressure that limits their abilities to promote their products."

One example of this scenario, she said, is that "South Korean panel makers have announced that they will be scaling back or ceasing the production of high-definition twisted nematic LCD panels [HD TN panels]," she said. "These panels are used in the displays of mainstream notebook products, and their prices are now in an upswing on account of the suppliers’ plans. Additionally, prices of both DRAM and NAND flash have gone up entering the third quarter. Rising component costs will constrain the sales momentum of notebooks, resulting in an unavoidable decline in annual notebook shipments."

Due to these factors, TrendForce's projected annual second-half shipment estimates take into account the fact that "notebook shipments during the traditional peak sales season may be weaker than expected," according to the report.

Leading the global notebook marketplace in shipments in the first half of the year was Lenovo, with a 21.8 percent market share, up 4.1 percent from one year ago, according to TrendForce. HP was ranked second with a 21.3 percent share, up 1.6 percent from 2015, while Dell held 15.3 percent of the market, up 11.1 percent from a year ago. Asus ranked fourth, with a 10.9 percent market share, up 1.5 percent from 2015, while Apple came in fifth, with 7.9 percent of the market, down 23.4 percent from a year ago, according to the figures.

Lenovo shipped 16.15 million units during the first six months of the year, while HP shipped 15.8 million units, according to TrendForce. Dell's shipments were helped by the company's launch of new Chromebooks, which almost doubled its Chromebook shipments over 2015, the report continued. Asus shipped about 4 million units in the first half of 2016, while Apple MacBook sales are expected to grow in the second half of the year after anticipated new models are released, the report states.

Acer was sixth in the rankings for the first half of the year with 7.7 percent of the market, down 22.2 percent from a year ago, while Samsung came in seventh with 2 percent of the market, down 16.1 percent from a year ago. Toshiba was in eighth place on the list with a 1.8 percent market share, down 62.6 percent from a year ago.

In June, IDC revised its 2016 outlook for the struggling global PC market, saying the decline in shipments could hit 7.3 percent over last year, about 2 percent lower than original expectations, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The IDC analysts pointed to a range of factors that will keep pressure on both consumer and corporate sales, including weak currencies worldwide, depressed commodity prices, political uncertainty and delayed projects.