2009 sales of Netbooks rise, but notebooks fall

With higher shipments, Netbooks sales will jump 72 percent to $11.4 billion for 2009, forecasts DisplaySearch. But overall portable PC sales will be down for the year.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

It's been a hot year for Netbooks, but not so much for the rest of the portable PC market.

Netbook sales are likely to hit $11.4 billion this year, a 72 percent rise from last year, thanks to a 103 percent leap in shipments, according to a new report from DisplaySearch. But notebook revenue overall will be down around 7 percent from last year.

The latest DisplaySearch Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report, released Tuesday, found that the surge in Netbook (mini-notebook) sales was not enough to offset declines for ultra-portables and larger laptops. Aside from Netbooks, annual revenue will likely be down in every portable PC category.

Though notebook shipments are expected to grow 5 percent for the year, average selling prices (ASPs) will show a 20 percent drop as vendors have slashed prices throughout the year, DisplaySearch has forecasted . Average prices for Netbooks and 13-inch to 16-inch notebooks will probably be down 15 percent for the year, a significant cut as these two categories make up 85 percent of the overall notebook market.


For 2010, notebook shipments will rise by 16 percent, predicts DisplaySearch, thanks to better than average gains in Netbooks and ultra-portables. The CULV (Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage) market will drive growth with an array of new 11.6-inch and 12-inch portables sporting prices under $500. However, sales next year will likely be flat or down for most portable segments, except desktop replacement, which should enjoy growth of 21 percent over 2009.

The popularity of Netbooks may start to fade next year, DisplaySearch said. Shipments could rise 20 percent, but sales will flatten, and then drop in 2011 as prices come down and performance goes up for ultra-portables and larger notebooks.


"Our long-term outlook is that the mini-note share of the notebook PC market has stabilized, and will remain at approximately 20 percent through 2011 before starting to erode," said John F. Jacobs, DisplaySearch director of Notebook Market Research, in a statement. "While mini-notes offer lower ASPs and are thinner and lighter than notebook PCs, the performance of larger notebook PCs continues to improve while prices continue to steadily decline, increasing the performance gap while narrowing the price gap."