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Netbooks rise, notebooks fall

Market for Netbooks continues to jump, hitting sales of $3 billion for 2009's second quarter, a 264 percent gain over the same quarter last year, says DisplaySearch.

Netbooks continue to soar in sales at the expense of the venerable notebook, according to a new report from DisplaySearch.

Revenues for Netbooks, or mini-notebooks, rose to $3 billion in the second quarter of the year, a leap of 264 percent over the second quarter of 2008, according to the new "Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report" released Thursday. With those gains, Netbooks now enjoy an 11.7 percent share of the portable PC market.


Though traditional notebooks still command an 89 percent slice of the market, their second quarter sales fell to $23.2 billion, a 14 percent decline from the second quarter of 2008.

Measuring 2009's second quarter against the prior year's quarter, sales fell in all subcategories of the portable PC market, including ultraportables and desktop replacements, the report noted. PCs in the 13-inch to 16-inch range managed to eke out a gain, but only measured against the first quarter of 2009.

The low prices of Netbooks appeal to consumers looking for a second PC and to those in emerging markets who don't need the rich and costly features of a large laptop. The market has also been buoyed by cable and telecommunications providers who have doled out Netbooks to customers who sign up for lengthy contracts.

Despite their growing market share, Netbooks have brought down revenue in the portable PC market due to their low average selling price (ASP).


"Mini-notes have been a significant contributor to volume growth in the portable PC market as their very attractive price points make owning a secondary computer viable for many consumers. However, the lower ASPs of these devices are clearly having a negative impact on portable PC market revenue," John F. Jacobs, DisplaySearch's director of notebook market research, said in a statement. "For 2009, we expect continued ASP erosion across all portable computer categories, leading to the first Y/Y decline of portable computer revenue."

DisplaySearch expects the sales trend to continue next year, with Netbooks accounting for 21.5 percent of all portable PCs shipped but bringing in only 10.9 percent of the revenue for the market.