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.
It’s been bleak times for notebook vendors over the last couple of years.
But, if a report in Taiwanese wire Digitimes is correct, things are, at last, picking up.
The report said the brand vendors have placed more orders than for quite a while, and there are expected to be strong shipment this month and next.
Apparently, people have stopped being shy about Windows 10 and have started buying notebooks.
But there is still a problem with Windows 10 and its free upgrades, because some systems will run the new Microsoft OS with pretty little trouble.
The jury is still out on whether people will put their hands in their pockets to shell out for still rather expensive Windows 10 systems.
But it’s clear that the much cheaper Chromebooks is leading traditional notebook PC vendors to pushing the alternative to Windows 10 as hard as they can.
The recent launch of Windows 10 is unlikely to bring the surge that PC manufacturers were hoping and praying for.
That’s according to data from ABI Research which said total system shopments for laptops will hit 165 million units in 2015.
And that’s essentially a flat forecast.
Even if the free upgrade to Windows 10 is taken up by plenty of people, they’re likely to use their current PC, said ABI.
ABI segments notebook PCs into netbooks, laptops, Chromebooks, and ultraportable PCs.
Jeff Orr, research director at ABI, said: “Segment growth is occurring in Chromebooks, much in part due to purchases by schools. Growth for 2015 is also in ultraportable PCs where thin and light designs are looking to tackle more mobile use cases by reversing the display panel flat like a tablet or having the screen separate entirely.”
Orr is predicting that Chromebook shipments will grow by 35 percent during this year.
On the ultraportable front, he said Apple’s Macbook Air is the clear leader, although Lenovo and Dell are narrowing the gap.
Laptops will decline by about seven percent during the year.
People don’t seem to be interested in buying brand new shiny notebooks with 15 inch displays and instead are spending their money on smaller items.
That’s according to market research company IHS which said panel shipments of 15 inch displays dropped 14 percent in the first half of 2015, compared to the first half of 2014.
But displays in the 11 inch range have grown from eight million units in the first half of last year to 11 million units in the first half of this year – driven by sales of Chromebooks.
Jason Hsu, a senior analyst at IHS Technology, said: “Thanks to affordable prices a host of hardware, app choices and a user friendly cloud environment, Cromebook has expanded its customer base from small and medium sized businesses and education market to general users.”
HSU said sales of Chromebooks are also increasing in emerging markets.
Stats compiled by IHS showed that notebook panel shipments to Lenovo and HP fell 26 percent from 6.4 million units in May to 4.7 million units in June.
Both firms have taken steps to slow down their stocks of panels.
Windows 10 hasn’t given notebook sales a boost but panel makers have a problem with over supply, with profits reduced.
While Microsoft has now confirmed that PC versions of Windows 10 will ship at the end of July, and versions for other machines later, there is considerable confusion in the market about how the firm will price up its offerings.
Windows 10 is being offered free to users of Windows 7 and the benighted Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 – but reports suggest that the picture is far from clear on how Microsoft will tackle the OEM end of the market.
According to a report in Taiwanese wire Digitimes, Microsoft has muddied the waters by offering discounts in a failed bit to compete with Google Chromebooks.
The report suggests that Microsoft is now offering discounts depending on the specifications of the hardware with the cheapest charge being $15.
And that’s discouraging some vendors of high end machines.
Nevertheless, it’s believed that Microsoft will encourage vendors like Acer and Lenovo to supply Windows 10 notebooks costing no more than $250.
These are supposed to compete with Chromebooks but it could be the move is too little, too late.
A report said that at least six 2-in-1 Chromebooks will launch this year and they’ll all be aimed at the non educational markets.
According to Digitimes Research, Lenovo, Asustek, Google, HP and Acer will take the market on in the second half of this year.
Google doesn’t mind competing with its customers.
The report said that it will introduce two Chromebooks – one for the entry level and one for the high level, with shipments starting in the third quarter of this year.
Digitimes Research said the high end machine will have a 12.85 inch display and be powered with a Tegra 6 microprocessor. The low end model will have a 10.1-inch display and use Rockhip.
The analysts believe that Google wants to compete with Apple’s 12-inch iPad.
No details are yet available of prices, but it’s obvious that Apple won’t be too worried about the arrival of the Chromebooks, while Microsoft is bound to be somewhat concerned.
Yesterday we reported that sales of Chromebooks using the ChromeOS are beginning to take off worldwide and challenging sales of Windows based notebooks.
But the Redmond software giant is not sitting back and watching revenues drop passively, according to a report.
Digitimes said that Microsoft has struck deals with Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs), who will introduce Windows notebooks at $179 at the end of this quarter.
That’s mostly a reaction to the Google Chromebook challenge. The same report said that Google has introduced a $99 Chromebook aimed at the educational market, and is using Rockchip semiconductors and cooperating with mainland Chinese vendors.
Digitimes said that Google has recently visited Taiwan to talk with Acer, Asustek and Quanta and wants to market the low cost Chromebook machines into emerging markets.
Microsoft is limited in its options. Operating system revenues contribute to its bottom line and even though it has dropped licensing fees for Windows, there is only so far it can go.
Who needs a Windows notebook? That must be a question that is rattling Microsoft as it gears up to the introduction of Windows 10.
And a report from Gartner underlines that uncomfortable fact for Microsoft, because it seems that worldwide Chromebook sales will hit 7.3 million units this year.
While education is the main market for Chromebooks and accounted for 72 percent of sales in 2014, it looks like other people are voting with their wallets.
While Isabelle Durand, a principal analyst at Gartner, said sals of Chromebooks are low, although small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are buying the kit, it’s likely that enterprises will prick up their ears in the future.
Durand said that Google is looking hard at the business segment, particularly with its Chromebook for Work office applications.
Durand said: “Chromebooks will become a valid device choice for employees as enterprises seek to provide simple, secure, low cost and easy to manage access to new web applications and legacy systems, unless a specific application forces a Windows decision.”
She said most Chromebook people are “tech savvy” and they buy one as a companion device to their existing PC. But, increasingly, people are buying Chromebooks as a low cost PC alternative.
She said that most Chromebooks were sold in the USA last year – an 84 percent share.
Vendors doing well are Acer, and Samsung was in second place. HP, a late entrant, is in number three position.
After a long series of quarters in the doldrums, it seems that sales of notebooks will be boosted in the second quarter.
But although that might be generally considered good news, it seems that it’s not the traditional notebook market that will surge, but sales of Apple machines and Chromebook notebooks.
That’s according to a survey by Digitimes Research, which estimates that notebooks will grow by 11 percent sequentially in the second quarter – still down by 1.2 percent year on year, but better than the 4.7 percent decline in an earlier period.
The market research company said shipments from Apple and sales of Chromebooks will represent as much as 50 percent – with Macbooks showing 40 percent sequential growth and 50 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Chromebooks will grow by 60 percent sequentially.
Sales of bog standard X86 notebooks will be down 8.7 percent quarter and quarter, year on year.
Digitimes Research estimates Apple will ship five million machines in the period, edging Dell out of third place. The number one player worldwide will be Lenovo.
A report said that tablets are set to overtake notebook PCs as the biggest mobile computing category.
That’s according to ABI Research, which said its data shows that tablets will have a 52 percent majority of the market by the end of this year.
Notebook shre will drop to a 48 percent share this year, and that will further decline by the end of 2016 too.
Tablets, are however, a niche and notebooks will show flat growth, partly because of a much longer replacement cycle.
Traditional notebooks are also threatened by Chromebooks which however will only show CAGR of 16 percent before this year and 2020.
ABI believes that tablets and notebooks don’t really compete in the same space, which makes the picture more complex. Acer, Apple, Asus and Lenovo all show good numbers in the Ultrabook and Chromebook markets, thinks ABI.