Notebook growth soars as PC market declines

Shipments of mobile PCs grew by 6.1% in the second quarter, despite a decline in the overall PC market, according to a Dataquest...

Shipments of mobile PCs grew by 6.1% in the second quarter, despite a decline in the overall PC market, according to a Dataquest study.

In the second quarter, 6.9 million mobile PCs were shipped worldwide, up from 6.5 million last year. US shipments were up 9.3% from the same period last year, but shipments fell in Japan and Latin America.

"In the past, buying a notebook would compromise performance, but that's not so anymore," said Charles Smulders, chief analyst at Dataquest.

Notebook purchasers no longer need such high performance from desktop machines, and are also interested in behind wireless LAN technologies.

One factor underscoring the increased performance of notebooks is the recent spate of announcements from vendors placing desktop processors in notebook computers, a trend Smulders called "one of the most interesting developments in the PC market in the past six months".

Users of these machines are trading some mobility for performance, but interest has been high in several regions, such as Asia-Pacific and the US, he said.

Dell Computer led all manufacturers in shipments in the second quarter, moving 1.03 million units. Hewlett-Packard was just behind with 1.01 million units, a number that includes shipments from Compaq.

The two notebook leaders have been heading in different directions, however, as Dell's shipments grew 10.6% from last year's second quarter, while HP's shipments fell 0.4%.

HP's stagnant performance has probably been affected by the massive integration and consolidation of the HP and Compaq notebook lines, Smulders said. HP's performance in the second half of the year will largely depend on how well it manages its integration, he said.

Toshiba's 885,000 shipments ranked third among vendors, but Toshiba showed the most growth from the second quarter of last year, improving shipments by 11.4 %.

As the Japanese market for notebooks fell 11% from the second quarter of 2001, Toshiba increased its shipments to Western Europe and the US.

However, compared with the first quarter of 2002, Toshiba's market share declined. The first quarter tends to be a big one for Toshiba, as Japan's financial year ends in March, Smulders said.

More notebooks were shipped from white-box manufacturers in the second quarter than from any other single source. White-box manufacturers are small, mostly local vendors that build PCs without brand names. They shipped 2.75 million notebooks in the second quarter, up 7% from last year. This represents 39.9% of the market.

Worldwide, the US is the largest market for notebooks, followed by Western Europe and Japan, Smulders said.

Dataquest expects the notebook market to continue to outperform the overall PC market through the end of the year, and well into 2003.

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