IHS: Ultrabook shipments projected to fall short in 2012

IHS: Ultrabook shipments projected to fall short in 2012

Summary: Analysts have cut their projection for global Ultrabook shipments by more than 50 percent.


Ultrabook shipments could be in danger of falling short this year, according to the latest forecast from market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli.

Previously, IHS analysts predicted that 22 million units of Ultrabooks would ship by the end of 2012. That projection has now been revised down to just 10.3 million Ultrabooks shipped worldwide this year.

There's a chance that number could be improved upon as IHS expects more than half of the shipments for the entire year to come in the fourth quarter, but that still doesn't leave much room for improvement.

Craig Stice, a senior principal analyst for compute platforms at IHS, cited two primary reasons in the report as to why Ultrabook sales are going to disappoint: pricing and marketing.

So far, the PC industry has failed to create the kind of buzz and excitement among consumers that is required to propel ultrabooks into the mainstream. This is especially a problem amid all the hype surrounding media tablets and smartphones. When combined with other factors, including prohibitively high pricing, this means that ultrabook sales will not meet expectations in 2012.

This falls in line with another recent IHS report in which Stice explained how the "Wintel" alliance between Microsoft and Intel is now playing catch-up as the computer market is becoming dominated by smartphones and tablets rather than PCs.

Predictions for 2013 have been lowered as well. IHS now expects shipments to rise to 44 million in 2013, but that is down from the previous expectation of 61 million units. The figure below presents the IHS forecast for ultrabook shipments in 2012 and 2013.

If Ultrabook shipments don't meet expectations this year, the repercussions will be felt throughout the supply chain -- including the hard disk drive industry. IHS recently reported that HDD shipments will bounce back this year, but one of the contributing factors is supposed to be a surge in Ultrabook shipments during the fourth quarter.

Topics: Intel, Hardware, Laptops, Tech Industry

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  • It was stupid to predict high ultrabook sales pre W8.

    It's great for consumers though that the supply chain was anticipating it. There will be lower prices for components in W8 ultrabooks. First $599 ultrabook will sell well.
    Johnny Vegas
    • I have to agree with you on that opinion, Johnny Vegas

      Ultrabook sales MUST receive a sales boost once Win 8 is released. (But if they don't then both Intel and Microsoft will have something very real to worry about.)
      • What, me worry?

        "But if they don't then both Intel and Microsoft will have something very real to worry about"

        No, there is absolutely no justification for this. Intel and Microsoft make their profits from volume. They get their cut of the pie which doesn't change radically whether the device costs the consumer $300 or $1,000. Ultrabooks were never going to be big volume sellers. This is a blip in their rear view mirror.

        What Intel and MS DO need to worry about is the tablet market. The consumer is not switching from desktop / laptop to ultrabook. This is not the migration. Consumers are migrating to tablets and smartphones. If Microsoft and Intel can't grab a significant portion of that market, then they will have something very real to worry about. Ultrabooks? Pfft, they are meaningless.

          They'll be saying the same thing about Windows 8 convertible tablets in a couple months.

          If people want a Macbook Air, they will never buy a plastic ripoff running the worst OS on earth!

          Consumers are moving away from Desktop operating systems while on the go; and MS happens to have the most unreliable OS.

          MS should focus on bringing apps to mobile operating systems, instead of trying to compete in a mobile world with a Desktop OS.
        • It seems that more and more people

          are going back to desktop PCs and using a tablet and/or phone for mobility rather than laptops/ultrabooks, myself included.
          I've realized recently how much I actually dislike laptops, for the cramped keyboard and especically the touchpads.
      • Buying an ultrabook in the dawn of Windows 8 is silly

        Not sure why would anyone buy an ultrabook when tablets are just around the corner. Windows 8 is fine for Keyboard and mouse but is brilliant with touchscreens. Consumers are really more and more exited about new products and many are waiting for Windows 8 devices to arrive.
  • Ultrabook is a marketing term

    It simply refers to a lighter, smaller laptop that still has the power of a high end laptop from 5 years ago. The demand for such a laptop was highly overestimated because most people don't find that paying twice as much for 5 year old technology is worth it just to save a few ounces and fractions of an inch in thickness.

    There have ALWAYS been niche laptops that have been smaller than the average. Ultrabooks have been around for at least 10 years, they simply didn't have a name. They have never sold in high numbers so I don't know why Intel thought that slapping a name on it would change anything.

    Things will get even worse for ultrabooks when Windows 8 Pro tablets start coming out. Those that still need powerful laptops will get something bigger. Those that truly want a portable device with a full OS on it (not a crippled OS like Android, iOS, or RT) will get a tablet. Those that absolutely need an Apple logo will get the MacBook Air (an ultrabook in every single sense except for the name - again, a clone of what we had 10 years ago - Apple following the market yet again).

    It is only going to get worse for this class of laptop, a class of laptop we've had for 10 years now.
    • I wouldn't call

      Android, iOS or RT "crippled", a term I see used a lot. In these cases, the more limited way the OS works is a specific design feature. Its like saying a car is crippled because it can't carry multi-ton loads like a truck. Instead you get better gas mileage and swift manuverability.
      • A truck driver absolutely would call a car crippled

        "Its like saying a car is crippled because it can't carry multi-ton loads like a truck"

        It is exactly like saying that.

        But use whatever terminology you want, that really wasn't the point. Calling it "crippled" or "limited" or "trimmed" are just different ways of expressing the fact that these started as "full" OSs (Linux -> Android, OS X -> iOS, Windows 8 -> RT) but have had many capabilities removed because ARM processors simply can't handle those capabilities. It is a compromise that works well for 10s of millions of people but it is a compromise nonetheless.

        For those not willing to live with that particular compromise, tablets running Windows 8 are a far superior mobile solution than ultrabook or MacBook Air. Non ultrabooks (and MacBook Pro) have gotten so small and light that those needing the power are FAR better off jumping straight to one of those models and skipping models like the MacBook Air that offer absolutely no benefits.
  • The article needs a little better analysis

    "If Ultrabook shipments don't meet expectations this year, the repercussions will be felt throughout the supply chain -- including the hard disk drive industry. IHS recently reported that HDD shipments will bounce back this year, but one of the contributing factors is supposed to be a surge in Ultrabook shipments during the fourth quarter."

    The official ultra book spec calls for SSD drives, not traditional disk drives. why would anyone expect ultrabooks to drive HD sales?

    Also, the headline is slightly wrong. Ultrabooks are falling short of the IHS forecast, but that was most likely a bogus forecast anyway not really grounded in reality.
  • Android > Windows

    I suspect that the average Android device now brings in more profit for its maker than the average Windows one. Given the Android is now outshipping Windows, that must mean that Android device manufacturers are earning more than Windows PC manufacturers.

    (Note I'm ignoring the fat profits that Microsoft and Intel are getting, though quite likely they will soon be 100% of the Windows PC business all in their own.)
  • Ultrabooks were just bad timing.

    The traditional PC market has reached its peak in both hardware spec and OS, which means there's nowhere to go but down (which we are seeing). Tablets like the iPad has taken off with 1 in 4 owners already saying they use it as their primary computer. Many others find themselves reaching for the iPad (tablet) more often than their PCs already. Smartphones are everywhere and are being used for many light "PC" tasks. Not saying there's no need for PCs, just that its importance has diminished somewhat and will continue to diminish as these other capable mobile devices become more and more popular.

    So why would consumers rush out to purchase $1000 Ultrabooks at this time when a $400 Notebook is perfectly sufficient? When a 2-3 year old Notebook is sufficient enough for most consumers computing needs today? And why would the market trust these OEMs and their $1000 PCs when they were pushing junk all these years (tarnishing their brands)? I wonder how DELL is doing these days?
    • Absolutely agree

      Nice post, great analysis. Ultrabooks were a last gasp at pretending that Intel was releasing something "new". It was marketing that people saw through when the $999 bill was presented to them at checkout.
  • It's simply trade-offs due to technology limitations

    You need to ferry 5 tons everyday. Do you want to trade a truck for a car, the latter with more comfortable seats, sound proofing, more admirers, etc?

    My notebook has 1920x1080 and a 1TB disk. 1366x768 and 256GB is a crippling sacrifice for lightness and bragging rights. But if the next ultra has 1600x900 and 500GB, I might move.
  • Fear of Windows 8

    We don(t know how consumers will react to Windows 8 and that could increase demand for ultrabooks. Windows 8 is easy to use. im I saw this tutorial on it which is the best so far. Good for beginners.
    Theo Mills
    • here

      Theo Mills