IHS: Ultrabook shipments projected to fall short in 2012

Analysts have cut their projection for global Ultrabook shipments by more than 50 percent.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

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.

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