The recession has had a significant impact on global PC shipments and has led many consumers to shop for netbooks rather than notebook computers. That means that some computer makers that were relatively unknown a few years ago prior to the netbook revolution are now featured much more prominently.
Research firm DisplaySearch has issued its latest findings for the notebook PC market for Q1 2009. According to the company, netbooks have grown to almost 20% of the notebook market during the quarter. The clear leader in the netbook market remains Acer with a full 30.5% of the netbook market. The second place netbook maker was ASUS; the firm that helped start the netbook revolution with its Eee netbooks. DisplaySearch reports that Acer sold twice as many netbooks as ASUS.
The penetration rate for netbooks was highest in EMEA and Latin America according to DisplaySearch and lowest in China and America. About 45% of all netbooks shipped went to EMEA for the quarter while only 26% of netbooks shipped to North America. One of the things that helped the European grab so much of the netbook market is the fact that many mobile phone service providers offer subsidized netbooks in Europe. That sort of offer is still a rarity in America.
In the notebook category the dominant company was HP with 24.1% of the notebook market – the company shipped over 7.3 million notebooks. Acer grabbed the second place spot for global notebook shipments from Dell as Dell slipped to the number three spot. DailyTech reported in early May that Acer could steal Dell's number two spot. Acer had the largest percentage of its shipments accounted for by netbooks at 31.6%. The other major manufacturers including Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba all had under 10% of their shipments come from netbooks.
HP's netbook shipments dropped 22% from Q4 2008 to Q1 2009, as did its notebook shipments with an 11% decline for the same period. Acer saw netbook shipments decline 18% from Q4 2008 to Q1 2009 and its notebook shipments declined 9%. Dell saw no decline in its netbook shipments over the Q4 2008 Q1 2009 time frame, though its notebook shipments dropped 19% over the period. ASUS posted the most extreme declines of all the top notebook makers with netbook shipments dropping 47% from Q4 to Q1 and notebook shipments dropping the same amount.
DisplaySearch analyst John F. Jacobs said, "It is clear at the moment that mini-notes play a vital role in the total PC market. Without the additional volume provided by these products, shipment volumes for the notebook PC market would have been down 19% Y/Y, instead of only falling 3%. While there is no doubt that many buyers of mini-notes would have chosen larger notebook PCs if mini-notes were not available, it is also certain that many buyers might have chosen not to purchase a notebook PC at all."
Some analysts and computer makers feel that the netbook is killing the notebook market as consumers flock to the cheaper systems and stay away from higher margin notebooks. As the economy rebounds the netbook may see its market share begin to decline.