DisplaySearch has reported in its Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report that the notebook PC market grew 27.7% Y/Y to 78.802 million units. At the DisplaySearch US Flat Panel Display Conference in March 2006, John Jacobs, Director of Notebook PC Market Research, forecast that the notebook PC market would grow to 77.943 million units. The actual notebook PC shipment number was just 1.1% higher than the early 2006 forecast, for an accuracy of 98.9%.
In Q4’06, on the strength of unit shipments that surged more than 29% Q/Q, HP once again took the top spot in the notebook PC market with shipments of just under 4.7 million units to capture 20% share of the notebook PC market. The quarter was less kind to Dell, which trailed HP, but perhaps more importantly lost share as unit shipments fell slightly from Q3’06 to Q4’06, despite a notebook PC market that grew more than 14.4% Q/Q.
The other big winner in Q4’06 was Acer, which, like HP, saw notebook PC shipments swell 29% quarter to 3.1 million units, surpassing the 3 million mark for the first time. Acer’s growth narrowed the distance between it and Dell to less than half a million units. Acer’s substantial growth increased its lead over #4 Toshiba, which shipped 2.3 million notebooks in the quarter.
Lenovo also had a strong fourth quarter, shipping slightly less than 2 million notebooks. Similar to HP and Acer, Lenovo also beat the average quarter/quarter growth rate for the notebook market with 18.2% Q/Q growth.
MacDailyNews Note: When contacted by MacDailyNews, Carolyn Lowe, DisplaySearch’s Director of Marketing, shed additional light on the chart above, “Apple went from 1.036M (rounded to 1M) down to 969K (also rounded to 1M) – that’s a 6.5% (rounded to 7%) decline.” Note: that’s calendar Q3 06 vs. Q4 06, not year-over-year. In calendar Q3 05 Apple sold 634K portables, so year-over-year calendar Q3 05 vs. Q3 06 showed an increase of 56%. Apple’s 969K notebook units for calendar Q4 06 were a 65% increase year-over-year vs. 587K units for calendar Q4 05.
While HP led on a worldwide basis, on a regional level, HP held the top spot in APAC and Latin America, as well as EMEA, which it took from Acer in Q4’06. Dell held on to its lead over HP in North America; however its share advantage fell from over 6% in Q3’06 to a 4% lead in Q4’06.
Sony (40.6%), HP (29.4%), Acer (29.0%) and Lenovo (18.2%) all easily surpassed the average Q/Q growth rate for the notebook PC market. By contrast, Toshiba’s gains lagged the market, and Apple, Dell, and Fujitsu/Fujitsu-Siemens were all down Q/Q.
DisplaySearch analysis indicates that the varying degrees of success in Q4’06 between brands are a function of different target markets for each brand. “With an increasing number of PC buyers choosing notebooks for their first PC, and existing PC owners upgrading to notebooks from desktop PCs, a strong retail strategy is critical for success. Indicators of aggressive retail strategies for notebook PCs could easily be seen in the quantity and variety of Black Friday advertisements for notebook PCs in 2006 compared to 2005,” said John Jacobs, Director of Notebook Market Research at DisplaySearch. “Brands that had the most success in 2006 also had a wide range of product offerings during the holiday season, from entry-level to top-of-the-line systems, and often bundled these systems with printers and occasionally flat panel monitors.”
Brands that were hungry for market share were quick to drop the street price premium, even running “free upgrade” promotions encouraging customers to make the transition. Additionally, brands with a heavier reliance on the enterprise market faced the additional hurdle of convincing IT managers to embrace wide products and support additional configurations.
Looking a year ahead to Q4’07, DisplaySearch expects the notebook PC market to continue to surge, growing to almost 97 million units.
Additional details from Q4’06 as well as forecasts by size and resolution are in DisplaySearch’s Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report here.
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