Netbook sales see large drop in growth

Often heralded as the next big thing in consumer computing, netbook shipments saw a sharp decline in sales growth for the first quarter of 2010. IDC, a market research firm, reports that retail shipments of netbooks fell from a significant 872% growth in the first quarter of 2009 to just 33.6% in 2010's first three months. 

The low-cost, portable devices struck huge success with consumers back in 2008 near the start of the recession but have since waned as customers start to look toward upcoming alternatives. DigiTimes reported this week that manufacturers of LCDs used in netbooks have started to cut production due to the downturn in orders. They claim that both HP and Dell have substantially reduced investment into 10" netbooks, though Acer, Asus, and Samsung remain strong-footed in the market.

Regardless of the sharp decline in sales growth, netbooks are still growing in numbers. The reported 33.6% growth for 2010's first quarter brought about 4.8 million shipments of the devices, up from the 3.6 million shipped in the same quarter of last year. Robert Shim of IDC predicts that netbooks will definitely establish themselves as a permanent force in the market, but won't become the dominant figure as they were predicted to be because of the limitations they pose:

"They're going to be a permanent part of the landscape," says Shim. But consumers have become less willing to give up features available on full-priced laptops—such as the ability to play video games or edit photos—in favor of netbooks' low price, he says. And full-fledged laptops are themselves becoming slimmer and smaller."

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growth is growth

So, they are selling the same number of netbook that they sell during 2009 plus a 30% more.

Ok, i get it, we must show a CUMULATIVE graphics of ipad sales and compare it with a GROWING graphics of netbook, or you could say, graphics lies!


Netbooks were a temporary trend.
This, however, happens when you sell images out of substances (read iPhones and iPads).

More people have bought netbooks in the past quarter than any other quarter in the history of mankind. How do you reach your conclusion? There will be a long-term need for netbooks by people who need to carry a computer back and forth for travel, business, or it management purposes.

warwagon said,
Personally I think it was a fad that wore off.

I think so too. I ended up buying a netbook. It was OK. But TBH, I rarely touched the thing once I got my iPhone. About the only thing it was good for was searching the web. As has been said, cramped keyboards and small screens are hard to work on for long durations.

To repeat an important point, easily missed:


This is a reduction in sales growth. Not a reduction in sales. 33% year on year growth is still pretty impressive. 800+% was insane in 2008 ... but that's because netbooks were new to the market.


So yeah. Bear that in mind.

Cause everyone who would benefit from them really has one now. Other then that everyone wants more power or performance and go onto the ultra portables and full on notebooks. I'm happy with my gateway AMD netbook.

acer 1810TZ, looks like a netbook but has a real CPU (dual core pentium) running 64bit windows 7 out the box with 4GB of RAM & a H.264 accelerated GPU. Stupid thing is that it was only £80 more than an ION netbook.

If I had known about that model a couple of months ago, I might have considered it instead of my 12" PowerBook (see that story below). Would probably make a nice OSx86 machine, if all the hardware is supported (I have doubts about the video card though :-( ).

I'm still in awe of my netbook, had it looping a video on battery yesterday at 50% lcd brightness which is very clear on my netbook (matt finish) and I got 7 hrs out of it before it went into 5% suspend. Samsung say they have got 12 hours out of it during normal use so it's about right I guess

I'd like to see a phone loop video for 7 hours, I know the iPhone can't with stock battery. Reg Hardware got 6 from the N220 on vid loop, but I'm on a very lean Linux install they would of been using stock Win 7 starter.

This is what Netbooks are about, this is my my Atom N450 is no faster than the old N270, all effort goes into power efficiency and for that purpose, they are unsurpassed.

Sooooo.... Apple was right again about netbooks. I will welcome the comments when Apple is wrong about the iPad.

Masterp said,
Sooooo.... Apple was right again about netbooks. I will welcome the comments when Apple is wrong about the iPad.
Large drop in sales growth. Not drop in sales.

Well doesn't suprise me. At the price they are sold at a good number of people that want them will have them by now. The other factor IMHO is that spec wise they have been rather stagnant for a very low time. A good number of Atom chips have been released but none are significantly better than the other.

I guess the big changer could be graphics capabilities but only a few models seem to be using anything like ION at the moment. All in all for those users that have netbooks there hasn't been much in the way of reason to upgrade and replace them given spec wise they are all rather similar anyway.

They also forced laptops to get cheaper which will eat away at sales and I would say the iPad could factor in. Ohh and then it might just be seasonal given many would have bought them leading up to XMas.

I really love the small design of the netbooks. For a mobile computer, the last thing I want is something big and bulky. And for me anyways, optical drives are just about obsolete.

However, I still haven't found the netbook that's right for me. I'm waiting for one that's really small AND really fast with Aero enabled.

Just another fashion accessory fad that's starting to wane. Plus, as the article mentioned, it's kind of hard to forego some of the crucial laptop features. Oh, and yes, the 10" screen and itty-bitty keyboard would make it hard to type anything other than "how r u meet @ dq 2 nite".

Haha people are finally realizing that Netbooks are just a passing fad. Seriously though, I was working with a friend on a programming assignment and we had our compilers running, ms word, google chrome and my buddy, who was using his Netbook was having serious issues with work productivity. We were coding in python and using the TKinter numpy and numplotlib modules to generate a few graphs and his took an unbearable 5 minutes to render those plots while my laptop took less than 10 seconds.
I've seen Netbooks go for more money than decent laptops.....Come on people, what the hell are you thinking? Stop thinking that Netbooks are just smaller laptops and you think you're getting the same functionality just with a smaller screen. Netbooks are run by calculator processors, have small HDDs, no optical drive etc. etc. Now I am not putting them down because they are great for browsing the web or writing an email or listening to music but I am afraid it ends there......and for only 100$ less than a laptop in most cases.

ManOfMystery said,
Haha people are finally realizing that Netbooks are just a passing fad. Seriously though, I was working with a friend on a programming assignment and we had our compilers running, ms word, google chrome and my buddy, who was using his Netbook was having serious issues with work productivity. We were coding in python and using the TKinter numpy and numplotlib modules to generate a few graphs and his took an unbearable 5 minutes to render those plots while my laptop took less than 10 seconds.
I've seen Netbooks go for more money than decent laptops.....Come on people, what the hell are you thinking? Stop thinking that Netbooks are just smaller laptops and you think you're getting the same functionality just with a smaller screen. Netbooks are run by calculator processors, have small HDDs, no optical drive etc. etc. Now I am not putting them down because they are great for browsing the web or writing an email or listening to music but I am afraid it ends there......and for only 100$ less than a laptop in most cases.

I've never seen a calculator use an Atom chip. ARM chips aren't even used in calculators. Most if not all calculators use the Zilog Z80. It'd be overkill if they did. Also they are good for many more things than browsing the web and email. Mine is living proof of that. I do all of my programming homework on it and never have any issues with speed. Shoot, that thing has even built a number of builds of firefox, and decently ran a Windows Server 2008 R1 VM, with the only hiccups being because of the cheap ass SSD it uses for a hard drive.

Edited by SharpGreen, Apr 3 2010, 2:14am : Clarity fix.

SharpGreen said,

I've never seen a calculator use an Atom chip. ARM chips aren't even used in calculators. Most if not all calculators use the Zilog Z80. It'd be overkill if they did. Also they are good for many more things than browsing the web and email. Mine is living proof of that. I do all of my programming homework on it and never have any issues with speed. Shoot, that thing has even built a number of builds of firefox, and decently ran a Windows Server 2008 R1 VM, with the only hiccups being because of the cheap ass SSD it uses for a hard drive.

Yes I agree with you. I didn't literally mean that they use calculator chips per-se I was just using an example to signify that they are rather underpowered. The biggest negative for me is the screen size and this is what I was mostly referring to. When I gave the example of my friend and I programming, I was enjoying 15" of screen real estate while he was having trouble with his tiny screen and he constantly had to resize things and move things around. I had to go up close in order to even read text. They are wicked small and portable, I will give you this much.

ManOfMystery said,

Yes I agree with you. I didn't literally mean that they use calculator chips per-se I was just using an example to signify that they are rather underpowered. The biggest negative for me is the screen size and this is what I was mostly referring to. When I gave the example of my friend and I programming, I was enjoying 15" of screen real estate while he was having trouble with his tiny screen and he constantly had to resize things and move things around. I had to go up close in order to even read text. They are wicked small and portable, I will give you this much.

Then again my opinion is based on having a 10" atom netbook. I would agree that anything smaller is just pointless.

The thing is that normal laptop prices dropped after sales got hit from the netbooks.... so now you can get a 15 inch laptop for a low price...
Anyway as it seems with the Ipad and other such devices coming out from asus and others we will have a zoo of internet capable devices that will all share the market.

I love my Acer One, but I purchased a 15.6" Acer with DVD burner, 3GB RAM for $320. It's got the TF-20 and runs great. Why buy a netbook when I can get more for the same price.

Portability is the main reason to get a netbook, but with full-size laptops coming down in price, they won't sell like they used. School especially went crazy over the netbooks for the price, but no need to anymore.

Kreuger said,
I never understood the point of an underpowered small ass laptop.
Because it is much smaller and easier to bring along.

However, it seems they are trending to larger and larger screens, making them more like laptops, except generally not as much "bang for the buck".

I enjoy my smaller ASUS netbook. to me, [u]that[/u] is the right size for a netbook.

Were we expecting them to maintain their 872% growth rate? My sister isn't exactly enthusiastic about her acer one.

offroadaaron said,
I guess people realise its hard to use something with a 10" screen or less.

People realize that ATOM CPU means slow, that built-in GPU means no good video (not HD) and no gaming other than solitaire. And yes, small screen.

You have to go to a ION Netbook to have something better, and you're close if not at the same price of a normal, much better laptop.

TruckWEB said,

People realize that ATOM CPU means slow, that built-in GPU means no good video (not HD) and no gaming other than solitaire. And yes, small screen.

You have to go to a ION Netbook to have something better, and you're close if not at the same price of a normal, much better laptop.

Most people don't buy laptops for gaming let alone Netbooks, and people aren't meant to buy Netbooks for the power but for the convenience. People are not meant to buy these as laptop replacements but for convenience of travelling but it seem people buy them as replacements and then your above comment applies.

TruckWEB said,

People realize that ATOM CPU means slow, that built-in GPU means no good video (not HD) and no gaming other than solitaire. And yes, small screen.

You have to go to a ION Netbook to have something better, and you're close if not at the same price of a normal, much better laptop.

I game pretty much on my Ideapad S10e
GTA San Andreas
WoW
Civilization 4
UT2004
Killing Floor

just to name few.

afuchi said,

I game pretty much on my Ideapad S10e
GTA San Andreas
WoW
Civilization 4
UT2004
Killing Floor

just to name few.


Are those meant to be powerful games? I'm unsure of your point here.

I've been playing through Bioshock on my laptop - then again that's what happens when you have a C2D and a Radeon 4570 in there.

Owenw said,

Are those meant to be powerful games? I'm unsure of your point here.

He was referring to TruckWEB's comment:
no gaming other than solitaire.

Those games are far more resource intensive than solitaire, wouldn't you say?

offroadaaron said,
I guess people realise its hard to use something with a 10" screen or less.

I output mine to 1080p monitor at home.

offroadaaron said,
I guess people realise its hard to use something with a 10" screen or less.

The hardware pretty much sucks. In canada, I can't even find anything with an ION gpu, save for the one Eee PC that has it. However, I don't like the Eee PC's design so I'm basically out of luck (pretty sure its out of stock anyway). Single core Atom processors and intel's 4500HD gpu is *not* enough to play 1080p content at a smooth framerate. That is basically my only requirement, so I can use the netbook as a sort of portable media center.

I do agree that 10" is way too small and I'd go for a 12" instead.

Owenw said,

Are those meant to be powerful games? I'm unsure of your point here.

Are only the most powerful games the fun ones to play?

offroadaaron said,

Most people don't buy laptops for gaming let alone Netbooks, and people aren't meant to buy Netbooks for the power but for the convenience. People are not meant to buy these as laptop replacements but for convenience of travelling but it seem people buy them as replacements and then your above comment applies.

People are extremely less likely to have both a netbook and a laptop, when they have a laptop that does everything. A laptop does not have to be a 19" monster machine to function well, we once called those "portable desktops". People want a single machine that does EVERYTHING, and netbooks do not for many reasons.