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The latest survey by the global market research firm TrendForce finds retailers’ stock up demand for new products sustained the notebook shipments this second quarter. However, the excessively high inventory level in the European retail channels and the slow inventory clearance efforts led to the lower-than-expected shipment result of 38.86 million units, or just a 1.1% growth versus the first quarter. “Branded notebook vendors are now under greater pressure due to the weak shipments during this year’s first half,” said TrendForce’s notebook analyst Anita Wang. “The second half will therefore be the crucial period when vendors will try to make a comeback. They are expecting new notebooks with Windows 10 will help them gain market share in this period.”
Wang also stated the lackluster shipments in this year’s first half have caused inventories to pile up. Moreover, Microsoft’s subsidy program for Windows 10 only covers notebooks sized 14 inches and below. New notebook models belonging to the mainstream 15.6-inch size category will have a higher license fee that will hurt their sales in the second half of this year. TrendForce therefore estimates a 5% slide in the 2015 notebook shipments, down to 168 million units. Display panel makers will also shift some of their notebook panel capacities to producing larger LCD monitor products due to the falling notebook demands. Hence, TrendForce’s 2015 notebook panel shipment estimate has been marked down to 180 million units, a 6.2% year-on-year decline.
Apple and HP made big advances during reshuffling of notebook shipment ranking in second quarter
HP recovered from its weak first-quarter shipment result and posted a 10.1% growth in the second quarter. By making this turnaround during the downtrend period, HP retook the No. 1 position in the notebook market. HP’s official split-up into two companies this August will motivate its employees to work even harder, and the company will benefit from the ongoing stock up demand for new notebook models. TrendForce therefore expects HP to remain as the market leader in the third quarter.
Lenovo lost the top vendor title and retreated to the No. 2 spot in the second quarter. Besides experiencing setbacks in the smartphone market, Lenovo too faced falling notebook demand in Europe and rising inventories. Instead of shipment increase, Lenovo posted a quarterly decline that reached 2.7%.
Dell’s notebook shipments were driven by a modest growth in the North American consumer market. It kept its No. 3 market position with a 4% shipment increase in the second quarter.
Apple’s notebook shipments were spurred by the market release of the new 12-inch MacBook Air and upgraded models of the Air and Pro series. Apple also has the advantage of selling mainly in the U.S., which has a relatively stable economy and a strong currency. These factors along with the first quarter’s low base period gave Apple a large 25% shipment growth in the second quarter and elevated its market ranking to No. 4.
The weak European demand also affected Taiwanese notebook vendors Asus and Acer. Moreover, consumers are delaying their purchases as they wait for the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 10 in the third quarter and Intel’s Skylake CPU in the fourth. With notebook purchases slowing down considerably in the second quarter, shipments dropped for Asus and Acer respectively by 1.8% and 8.2%.
Japanese vendor Toshiba saw a large 29% decline in the second quarter because its new notebook products have yet to arrive. Korean vendor Samsung continues to pursue on different notebook marketing strategy. It targets the high-end commercial market with low-volume shipments of high-margin products. Consequently, Samsung’s notebook shipments also kept falling the second quarter with a 40.4% drop.