Report: 1 in 5 portable computers shipped are netbooks

Report: 1 in 5 portable computers shipped are netbooks

Summary: Despite the fact that many have predicted the end of the netbook era, the popularity of the miniature notebooks keeps growing.

TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware

Despite the fact that many have predicted the end of the netbook era, the popularity of the miniature notebooks keeps growing.

Netbooks accounted for 22.5 percent of all portable computer shipments worldwide in the second quarter, according to market forecaster DisplaySearch, a part of the NPD Group.

That's up from just 5.6 percent a year ago, and 17.8 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

Outgrowing larger notebooks by nearly 2 to 1 (40 percent quarter over quarter, compared to 22 percent), netbooks are poised to overtake traditionally-sized notebooks in units shipped.

Despite their success, netbooks aren't nearly as lucrative for manufacturers, so revenues may actually be less overall.

From the report:

In many regions, telecom providers have been offering subsidized mini-notes for several quarters, which helped propel growth. In Western European countries, a number of telecoms are subsidizing 100% of the price of the mini-note when the customer signs a two-year data plan contract. In North America, telecom providers are aggressively marketing mini-notes with a two-year data plan contract, while some cable providers are offering heavily discounted mini-notes as an incentive to sign a contract for cable TV, internet and phone service. The incentives have been quite successful in Europe. In North America, these promotions were only test marketed in Q2’09, so there is insufficient data to determine if they will achieve the same measure of success.

Mini-notes have been a significant contributor to the growth in the portable PC market as their very attractive price points make owning a secondary computer viable for many consumers.

“Mini-note PC screen sizes have increased steadily, from 7.0" to 8.9” and then to 10.2". Some panel makers and brands are promoting 11.6" mini-note displays, leading to an overlap with ultraportable notebooks. However, the higher prices of these larger netbooks diminish their cost advantage. In addition to many other key players in the supply chain, Microsoft indicated it is their desire to increase the ASP of mini-notes. A significant increase to the ASP of mini-notes may deter consumers that are predominantly using mini-notes as secondary PCs,” said John F. Jacobs, Director of Notebook Market Research.

The report also provided a global breakdown by region, with interesting results: Europe leads the world in netbooks, with a 32.9 percent share in the second quarter, followed by North America at 26.6 percent and China at 18.8 percent.

(Latin America claims just 6.7 percent, Japan just 6 percent and Asia Pacific 9.2 percent.)

Topics: Mobility, Hardware

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • No choice

    The hardware to run PC and smartphone functionality just will inevitably get cheaper and cheaper. Makers of smart phone chips like Qualcomm and all the ARM mfgrs are also going to join the party and put further pressure on the Wintel heavy pc industry. Displays will continue to get cheaper and higher resolution. The web will continue to gradually supplant local PCs for both hardware and software functions.

    This all means that netbooks are here to stay. It's either join or die.
  • They're cheap.

    They're cheap, they're small. Just what everybody really wants.

    I don't think that a lot of ZDNet authors really get that. More than once I've heard them scoff at $100 more getting them a "real notebook" and wondering out loud why people don't like to spend "only" $100.

    $100 is a lot of money for a lot of people. I'm amazed that some ZDNet authors take $100 so lightly.
    • [chuckles]

      That's cause ZDnet authors are being paid good salaries. Not like Joe 6 chip who have to scrimp and save. I remember one author saying his wife paid $80 to get a bunch of photos developed at this over-priced mail in service.

      Must be nice.

      - Kc
  • I love mine

    I have an Asus Eee 1000HA, and although the keyboard took a bit getting use too. Once I got Ubuntu 9.04 installed and working right, it's invaluble. I take it everywhere outside the house. I can get e-mail, on the web at a free wi-fi, do work on OpenOffice, transfer files back and forth from my Ipod or the camera. (160g holds a LOT of pictures, and Mp3s.)

    The only negitive about these; no CD/DVD reader (at least) External CD/DVD readers are around $150. So if you HAVE to use Windows, then better get an external CD reader when you buy a netbook. It's nearly impossible to install XP from anything except a CD. But then, your starting to get the cost of a regular laptop, so something to think about.

    On the size: If your a big person like me (6' 3") 10" is about as small as you can go and be able to use that keyboard. 7" models are more for children, or a small person.

    Sure it's not a gaming computer, but I didn't get it for that. But other than that, it's a wise and welcome purchase.

    I'd certainly buy another when the time comes.

    - Kc

  • This is my Dead Finger Tech

    I have 2, an Asus 701 in galaxy black from when they first came out, and an Acer Aspire One which I got when the power adapter on the Asus died. I wasn't going to wait 6 weeks for a replacement power adapter. The Acer arrived in 2 days and at a price under $325 (Overnight courier, S&H, and taxes included) it was easily affordable.

    It goes with me everywhere. It fits inside my purse (barely). It fits inside my tool bag (easily). I can sip green tea at Starbucks and surf the web, get my emails, and even VPN into my business. It's become the most valuable tool I have, more important to me than my array of fine desktop computers or my big and heavy laptop computer. It's just powerful enough, and just portable enough to do 99% of everything I need to do. The only way you'll take these away from me, is by prying them out of my cold, dead fingers!

    I'm glad to see the market agrees. I'm sure others have discovered the joys of owning a netbook as a "second" machine.
  • RE: Report: 1 in 5 portable computers shipped are netbooks

    Most people today have two notebook computers.... one a 'internet-only' one that they use solely for internet and word-processing, and another one that is a 'gaming computer' if they are into that.

    That is what I have personally.... one notebook for gaming, one for internet-only, though the gaming notebook is sometimes used for internet if I am busy like tonight.
  • Dust on my notebook

    I power on my notebook once a month to get software updates. My Netbook is my little friend. My desktop remains my work horse (with three gorgeous monitors, a MS Natural keyboard, and a form-fitting Logitech MX Revolution mouse).

    I never realized how heavy the notebook was until I became acclimated to the Netbook. Wow! It's a (relatively speaking) hog! I keep it for backup (the Netbook screen does have its limitations), but that's all.
  • now my primary computer

    I have a 10.1" Acer Aspire One that I've just
    put Windows 7 on - it's my primary computer
    now, I take it EVERYWHERE with me. I have an
    extra power supply in my glovebox just in case
    the ~7-8 hr battery life isn't enough.

    When I am at home, I either hook it up to my
    20" LCD in extended-desktop mode, or I use it
    as my HTPC's keyboard and mouse with Input

    I bought my mother the newer, thinner model
    with bluetooth and she loves it as well. If
    only the tablet netbooks had comparable battery
    life - I hope the rumored mac tablet has
    greater-than-average battery life, if so, it
    will be my next purchase.

    Could someone please enlighten me with the
    meaning of ASP in this context -- "Microsoft
    indicated it is their desire to increase the
    ASP of mini-notes."
  • deleted duplicate post

    deleted duplicate post
  • RE: Report: 1 in 5 portable computers shipped are netbooks

    of course this is the case. the netbooks are getting more powerful, lighter and smaller, and are fun to use. I just bought a fantastic HP netbook at I love it!