Ultrabook sales suffer as consumers feel the squeeze

Ultrabooks are failing to take off in western Europe because consumers are not prepared to spend a premium on expensive devices

Ultrabooks are failing to take off in Western Europe because consumers are not prepared to spend a premium on expensive thin and light devices.

At the same time, the configuration of these devices mean they lack a docking station, making them unsuitable for deployment in large enterprises, said Jeremy Davies, CEO & co-founder of IT market research company Context. 

“Ultrabooks, while popular, remain too pricey to spur PC growth, and the jury’s still out on Windows 8,” said Davies.

Figures from PC distribution data released today by Context showed a negative performance in Western European PC sales during the first two months of Q2 2012, marked by a -16.6% decline in sales across April and May, compared to the same period in 2011.

Sales of devices in the mobile categories registered negative year-on-year growth with notebooks declining -16.6% and netbooks falling -45.7%. 

The move to a thin and light design is an attempt by Intel to put more desirable form factors in the laptop market, to mirror success of the MacBook Air and provide a compromise between a tablet and a laptop.

“It seems that consumers simply don’t have the finances to continue buying PCs while businesses are still impacted by negative economic news,” Davies said. 

“The only bright spot is tablets – perhaps the novelty factor and delight the user interface brings can stir buyers out of their depression, provided pricing is right.”

He said the recently announced Microsoft Windows Surface tablet, which combines a keyboard with a touchscreen, has the potential to affect Apple iPad sales. 

Davies said: “It makes sense to have integration of keyboard and touch.”

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