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Notebook market rises in Q3 amid annual decline

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:notebook PC? Haswell? Bay Trail? Windows?

IHS has reported that the notebook PC market has posted single-digit sequential growth in Q3 even as shipments dropped on a YoY basis. The YoY decline is making it increasingly apparent that the mobile PC market is headed for a second consecutive year of contraction in 2013, indicated the market analytics firm.

Mobile PC shipments worldwide are estimated to have reached 47.9 million units in Q3, up six per cent from Q2. This represents the largest sequential growth since two years ago when the market rose seven per cent in 3Q11.

On the other hand, Q3 results show the market has now shrunk for five consecutive quarters on a YoY basis, starting from 2Q12 more than one year ago. This fifth quarter of decline, down nine per cent compared to the same time last year, is the second-worst drop after the sharp 14 per cent loss incurred during the previous quarter.

"Amid the onslaught of tablets, the notebook market is desperately seeking any reason for optimism!and the sequential growth in Q3 is offering a ray of hope," said Craig Stice, senior principal analyst, compute platforms for IHS. "However, even with a respite from the sequential decline and a few other hopeful developments, the mobile PC business is still on track to decline for the full year of 2013. This means the notebook market will contract for the second consecutive year, a proposition that once would have been unthinkable for the formerly high-flying mobile PC business."

While mobile PCs continue to be engaged in a losing battle against tablets, several market developments appear encouraging.

For instance, Intel's Haswell microprocessor as well as its soon-to-be-released Bay Trail chip will make mobile PCs such as Ultrabooks faster and more agile while also extending battery life!qualities that could enhance the machines' appeal to consumers. Even Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices has a line-up of processors!already released!that will compete not only in the performance sector but also in the low-power and entry-level-pricing markets, providing further indication that the mobile PC space still has players actively invested in the future of the market.

An indirect boost could come by way of the desktop PC space, which is expected to liven up as the Microsoft Windows XP operating system expires in April next year and the commercial segment then undergoes an anticipated refresh cycle. Such a development could potentially translate into millions of computers upgrading to a fresh operating system as well as more advanced hardware. Any uptick in the desktop space is potentially beneficial to the mobile market, especially if excitement over new software and hardware spills over and engages consumers.

"All hopes are now pinned on Q4, which could end up as one of the most important holiday seasons yet for the PC industry," Stice said. "With various new technologies launching, the PC trade believes it is playing its best hand in years. Many eyes will be watching to see how the rest of the year!to say nothing of 2014!turns out."

The year, however, remains set to end on a disappointing note for the overall PC market, including mobile computers.

Although 2H13 will prove stronger than the first six months of the year, the deep damage inflicted during 1H will make its presence felt when final results are tallied by year-end. As a result, the global PC market is forecast to be down again this year, repeating the decline of 2012, which had been the first in 11 years.

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