According to Barclays Capital, global shipments will tumble 17 per cent from Q4 2012, traditionally the strongest quarter for notebook shipments. Notebook sales in Q2 usually grow by about 6 per cent, but Barclays believes shipments will grow only 4 per cent this year. Yang attributed the decline in demand from China to the ever increasing demand for tablets.
Barclays analyst Kirk Yang believes the weaker than expected growth also reflects delays in the introduction of new models. Both Intel and AMD are about to introduce new mobile processors and a new generation of touch enabled Ultrabooks is also on the way.
Taipei Times reports that Quanta, the world’s leading notebook ODM, is simply not receiving many orders. International brands are reluctant to place large orders, as better gear is just around the corner.
The really bad news is that things will not pick up anytime soon. Weak demand will plague the market well into the fourth quarter of 2013.
There are some technical challenges as well. Next generation hybrids and convertibles aren’t making much of an impact on the market yet. A shortage of touchscreen panels means that the production of touch enabled notebooks won’t pick up until later this year, which will roughly coincide with the rollout of new Intel mobile chips. SSDs remain prohibitively expensive for some market segments and they are still reserved for quite pricey SKUs. The same goes for high definition 1080p screens in sub 14-inch market.
In other words, consumers who don’t opt for high end devices really don’t have much of an incentive to upgrade.