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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Ultraslim PC shipments to hit 65 million by 2015, researcher says

Last year, ultraslim PCs, which include ultrabooks and Apple's MacBook Air, could only muster 3.4 million unit shipments. One research firm expects that figure to rise dramatically.

Intel's Ultrabook hybrid device.
Intel's Ultrabook hybrid device. Brooke Crothers/CNET

The ultraslim PC market, which includes ultrabooks and the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina display, is set for explosive growth in the coming years, according to one researcher.

Last year, just 3.4 million ultraslim PCs were shipped worldwide. By 2015, that figure will grow to 65 million, according to new data from NPD DisplaySearch. By then, ultraslim PCs will account for a quarter of all mobile PC shipments.

As NPD DisplaySearch notes, ultraslim PC adoption has been quite slow. According to the researchers, that has been due to high prices across the line and "a lack of differentiation from standard notebooks." However, NPD DisplaySearch expects prices to continue to gradually come down, and innovation to rise.

So far, ultrabook sales, especially, have been disappointing. Earlier this week, another research firm, IHS iSuppli, revealed that ultrabook shipments are only expected to hit 10.3 million this year, down from a previous forecast of 22 million units.

"There once was a time when everyone knew the 'Dude you're getting a Dell' slogan," IHS analyst Craig Stice said in a statement. "Nowadays no one can remember a tag line for a new PC product, including for any single ultrabook. 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."

Meanwhile, tablets are performing exceedingly well. In fact, NPD DisplaySearch said today that it expects tablet shipments to exceed notebooks by 2016. The company made a similar prediction back in July, when it said that it expects tablet shipments to hit 416 million in 2017, compared to 393 million notebook units shipped.

"Tablet PCs have offered consumers what they have been requesting from the notebook market for years, instant-on activation, long battery life, and sleeker designs," Richard Shim, Senior Analyst with NPD DisplaySearch, said today in a statement. "These attributes are the basis for enabling greater and easier accessibility to content and services. Ultra-slim PCs are the notebook market's response to tablets and aim to balance performance and convenience."