Barclays Capital has warned that major contract laptop makers remain too optimistic about their shipment targets for this year despite stronger demand in the second half of the year.
These Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs), including top-tier Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶電腦), Wistron Corp (緯創), Inventec Corp (英業達) and Pegatron Corp (和碩), shipped 167 million notebook computers last year, Barclays’ analysts recently reported in a research note.
The figure was 17 percent lower than their originally projected target of 202 million units, leading to a year-on-year decrease of 2 percent in total notebook shipments, the bank said.
For this year, the Taiwanese notebook ODMs are again calling for unrealistic shipment growth of 11 percent year-on-year, much higher than Barclays’ global notebook forecast of only a 3 percent increase, said Kirk Yang (楊應超), head of Asia ex-Japan tech hardware research based at Barclays Bank, Hong Kong.
“Even with expectations of hard disk drive supplies returning to normal in the second quarter of [this year] and the demand in the second half picking up along with the adoption of Ultrabooks, we believe the Taiwan ODMs are too optimistic,” Yang wrote in the note.
On Jan. 6, Compal, the nation’s No. 2 contract laptop maker, said it aimed to grow notebook computer shipments by almost 20 percent this year to 48 million units, compared with 40 million shipped last year. China’s Lenovo Group (聯想) is one of the biggest customers of Compal.
Wistron chairman Simon Lin (林憲銘) said he also expected his company’s shipments to increase by 20 percent this year.
“With the overly aggressive targets for [this year] from ODMs and recent share price runs, we prefer to avoid notebook ODM stocks, as shipments in the first quarter of [this year] will likely remain weak and ODM margins may continue to disappoint the market,” he said.
Barclays has cut its notebook shipment forecast for last month to a 12 percent decrease month-on-month from the previous forecast of a 10 percent decline, citing a lack of Lunar New Year demand in China, weak PC demand in the US and Europe and shortages of hard disk drives.
Further, the bank said it did not see any meaningful replenishment of inventory after the holiday period, resulting in Barclays maintaining its forecast for first-quarter notebook shipments of a 14 percent decline over the previous quarter, lower than the the normal seasonal drop of 9 percent.
Market researcher International Data Center forecast last month that worldwide shipments of PCs would expand 4.5 percent this year to 371 million units from last year.