A report said that Chinese entrants into the notebook market in Western Europe and the USA will pose new challenges to existing vendors.
Digitimes said that Xiaomi and Huawei will launch products in the more “mature” markets next year, giving HP, Dell, Lenovo and the other traditional players a run for their money.
The same report suggested that Samsung is preparing a fresh foray into the notebook market soon after it withdrew from the fray last year.
And it suggests there is pressure on Taiwanese giants Acer and Asustek to merge in face of declining sales in the notebook sector. Acer is firmly against such a move.
Lenovo is in the doldrums, while Digitimes said in its report that Toshiba and Fujitsu are likely to consign their notebook lines to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP).
JIP had previously taken over Sony’s notebook business, once one of the corporation’s jewels in its crown.
ABI Research said that Chromebooks are leading growth for the notebook PC category, with Chrome OS systems expected to ship over eight million units by the end of the year.
And ABI analyst Jeff Orr said that growth for Chromebooks will show a 22 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years.
Orr said: “Industry professionals can expect the notebook PC marker, including Chromebooks, laptops and ultraportable PCs to remain roughly flat year on year in 2015, with flat to slightly positive growth projected through 2020.”
He said that next year will see a sales surge for both Chromebooks and ultraportables with people adopting Chromebooks in schools and 2-in-1 ultraportables representing the future.
ABI estimates that 164 million notebooks will ship this year.
The ultraportables and laptop will show a decline of 14 percent compared to last year.
Orr said that’s mostly due to unit volume declines at Acer, Asus and Lenovo.
Apple will have 32 percent share of the ultraportable PC with various Macbook Air models.
All-in-one PCs were a great hope for PC vendors as the traditional desktop market fell, but a report suggests that sales are set to fall this year.
According to Digitimes Research (DR) only 13 million units will ship tgis year, a decline of 3.9 percent compared to 2014.
DR said that sales are expected to be flat in 2016 or even fall by around half percent.
If all-in-one PCs are included as overall desktop shipments however, they account for 10.5 percent of the total.
Lenovo was top of the pile this year, with Apple taking second place and with both vendors holding 60 percent of the total shipments.
Third, fourth and fifth are HP, Dell, and Acer.
The machines are mostly manufactured by Taiwanese original design manufacturers – the usual suspects like Quanta, Wistron, Compal and others supply 90.1 percent of the machines to the brand name vendors.
In the week that microprocessor manufacturers Intel and AMD saw mixed financial results, it seems that the market for X86 based PCs has fallen again.
IDC reported that PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) accounted for 18.4 million units in the third quarter of 015.
That’s a fall of 23 percent compared to the same quarter last year. IDC analysts attribute the fall by a mixture of adverse currency fluctuations, political instability, and oversupply of PCs in the channel.
IDC said that shipments of machines using Windows 10 increased in September, but Microsoft’s decision to offer free upgrades means that demand wasn’t great. Companies are trying to sell the Windows 8 products still in the warehouses.
Maciek Gornicki, research manager at IDC EMEA, said: “Bringing inventory levels under control has proven to be very challenging, but there has been clear progress and this should facilitate new shipments in the coming quarter.”
When dicing the numbers, the Western European area saw a decline of 18.4 percent, but the Middle East dropped by 28.4 percent, while Eastern European shipments fell by 31.3 percent.
The top vendors in the period were HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, and Asus. But of these vendors, Acer saw a drop of 38 percent compared to the same quarter in 2014, while Asus didn’t do very much better, with a decline of 26 percent.
While some vendors are getting out of the declining PC notebook business, it appears that Chinese giant Huawei will introduce notebooks next year.
Huawei is already in the X86 server business and this year launched smartphones, which according to analysts, sold really quite well.
Digitimes reports that Huawei will use a Chinese original design manufacturer called BYD, and that company will make so called 2-in-1 Windows 10 notebooks. Xiaomi, a smartphone competitor is using Taiwanese ODM Inventec to make notebooks for it.
Huawei already has a pretty developed channel worldwide, and the move is likely to dent business by Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer and Asustek.
The move could also lead to lower prices for PC notebooks, as the market develops.
Like other PC vendors, Acer’s roadmap has been a bit rocky of late but according to reports the company is optimistic about the future.
Tiffany Huang, Acer president of operations, told reporters that the channels are still stuffed with Windows 8 based PCs but that’s an improvement on affairs barely three months ago.
The Taipei Times reported that she said that by the first quarter of next year, Acer Windows 10 PCs will exceed shipments of Windows 8 PCs.
Acer claims to be the number one Windows 10 PC vendor in Asia and in Europe.
Huang said she expected growth during this quarter due to people being attracted by Windows 10 and Chromebooks, 2-in-1 notebooks and gaming notebooks doing well.
Acer is believed to be nursing a grudge against Microsoft, after the launch last week of a high end notebook which effectively competes with Acer’s own high end notebooks.
Microsoft has denied it is competing with its customers and has claimed it’s competing with Apple, really.
Microsoft’s introduction of the Surface Pro 4 last week makes it quite clear that the company doesn’t give a jot about its customers who sell notebook PCs and it is quite happy for them all to wind their operations down.
For the last 20 years, Microsoft has kept a tight grip on original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original development manufacturers (ODMs) who bear the cost of creating machines running the then ubiquitous Windows and using, by and large, Intel processors.
Margins for OEMs and ODMs are increasingly flat, and demand for notebooks continues to decline, which has led to several players exiting the arena, most notably Sony with its Vaio range of machines.
But the introduction of its own machine, competing with its former customers, only underlines the consolidation that is likely to proceed in the brand notebook market.
Industry delegates at the Canalys Channels Forum last week said they expected to see only three major brand players left in the notebook market in the foreseeable future – HP, Dell and Lenovo. Acer has said earlier this year that it would fight against aggressive acquisitions while Asus hasn’t said very much at all about its future.
Microsoft’s introduction of the Surface Pro 4 appears to pitch it against Apple – but even with an impressive set of specs, it probably doesn’t stand a snowball in hell’s chance of winning much market share.
The news for vendors of notebooks hasn’t been good for many quarters now but it appears August offers a glimmer of hope for the manufacturers.
Digitimes Research (DR) said that the top five brands showed growth of 17 percent in August, over July’s figures.
In more rosy times, August was the month that manufacturers prepared machines for the “back to school” period but that patterns been disrupted for some years now.
DR said that out of the top five vendors, HP, Lenovo and Acer had a healthy August showing growth of 30 percent, 30 percent and 40 percent respectively.
But the shipments were not too good for Asustek and Dell, which showed weak growth, with DR believing the latter suffered from lack of demand in the commercial sector.
Meanwhile, the original design manufacturers – that is to say the companies that actually make the kit that is later branded, also did well, with Quanta, Compal and Wistron all seeing growth for the period.
DR believes it’s impossible right now to gauge the effect of Windows 10 on notebook sales.
And while many of the companies showed growth in shipments, those aren’t sales.
A lack of demand for notebooks has led to companies in Europe ending up with stacks of unsold notebooks and leading them to experience cash flow problems.
That’s according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, which said that some of them are offering deals including buy two and get one free. But it looks like people don’t even want to buy one, never mind two.
The wire said that the retailers are suffering so much stock indigestion that they’ve asked major brand vendors to give them longer to pay their bills.
The problem has been partly caused by vendors offering big commissions to sell notebooks but that hasn’t worked despite the best of the retailers’ efforts.
And Acer and Asustek, which have resisted pressure from the bigger vendors to offer higher commissions are suffering because they can’t compete on pricing and the commissions offered by HP and Lenovo.
Acer made a profit in its last financial quarter but it was a small profit.
Windows 10 may be popular for existing notebook users who can upgrade for free, but that’s not enough to make people buy new machines, Digitimes said.
The CEO and founder of Dell said that he sees consolidation in the PC market in the next couple of years.
Dell is third in the global PC market with 14.5 percent market share, with HP at number one and Chinese firm Lenovo at number two.
Talking to journalists in Bengaluru, India, Michael Dell told Reuters that the three top firms will have around 80 percent of the market in the next five years.
Despite the fact that the PC market is shrinking, Dell is doing pretty well, Dell said because the company now just doesn’t focus on selling PCs but also software and security for enterprise customers.
Dell told the journalists that his firm has outgrown the other two chief rivals in terms of notebook sale and has grown its share 10 quarters in a row.
Last week the founder of Taiwanese PC maker Acer said that any takeover of his firm would face a hostile reaction from the company. Acer barely scraped a profit in its last set of financial results.
Dell, now a private company, has no intention of releasing any kind of smartphone, he said.