Notebooks fall in price as netbooks bite

Sales of netbooks have forced down the price of mainstream notebooks while high end machines are in the doldrums.

However, although sales of notebooks generally have fallen, as well as their prices, Taiwanese quango the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute (MIC) has predicted brighter times ahead, particularly in mainland China, for notebook sales.

It predicts “Greater China” will soak up 114 million units during 2009, although branded multinational firms like Dell, HP and Lenovo are taking a cautious view of the market.

MIC said that consumer ultra low voltage (CULV) notebooks could well stimulate market demand in the second quarter and onwards.

Analyst Nicole Huang said: “From January rush orders emerged which stimulated shipment. As a result, shipment volume of Chinese notebook PC industry in the first quarter of 2009 is estimated at 24.99 million units, falling 17.9 percent sequentially, better than the expected decline of 18.1 percent.”

She said inventory levels have started to rebound, indicating that market demand wasn’t as weak as expected.  Average Selling Prices (ASPs) in the Chinese market are now $495, said Huang. “Mainstream notebook PC vendors pushed low price products to deal with the continued impact of netbook PCs.” The high end shipment share declined in the first quarter.

There continues to be weak demand in the enterprise market and netbooks are pushing down the prices of mainstream notebooks. She said that the shipment share of products below $800 was close to 90 percent in the first quarter, but that trend will slow in this quarter.

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