Tue, May 02, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Notebook shipments rise for first time since 2014

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s notebook shipments in the first quarter rose 6.3 percent year-on-year, their first uptick since the final quarter of 2014, the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) said on Friday.

The gain was attributed to strong replacement demand for commercial laptops and Apple Inc’s MacBooks, MIC researcher Jessica Hsu (許桂芬) said.

Global laptop sales are expected to reach 154 million units this year as the pace of a decline in demand slows, Hsu said.

Companies have launched new models with improved biometric security features, such as infrared camera-enabled facial recognition, encryption for payment services such as PayPal and longer battery lives, Hsu said.

Laptop designs are also trending toward thinner display bezels, and more portable and lightweight designs are aimed at attracting upgrade purchases, Hsu said, adding that this year’s gaming laptop models also have new processors and displays.

Companies will take lower-priced models off the market as rising DRAM prices and a shortage of solid-state drives adds to production costs, Hsu said, adding that a shortage of display panels has been mitigated by rising production capacity in China.

A rise in sales of higher-margin business and gaming laptops is expected to slow the pace of falling average retail prices of laptops this year, Hsu said.

The institute gave a dim outlook for motherboards, saying that a new generation of processors would not catalyze demand.

Motherboard shipments in the first quarter fell 6.7 percent sequentially to 26 million units, MIC data showed.

While the launch of new central processing units is no longer a major sales driver, AMD Inc’s Ryzen has seen a warmer market reception since its debut at the beginning of the year than Intel Corp’s Kraby Lake, the institute said.

However, AMD’s smaller market share would bring limited gains to global motherboard shipments this year, it said.

The institute said that as the global market for motherboards contracts, companies have voiced a willingness to refrain from capturing market share on lower pricing and instead focus on higher-margin segments, such as gaming, as well as branching out to other businesses.

As the market continues to contract, motherboard makers seeking to transition to higher-margin product lines would face balancing market share and maintaining profitability challenging, while second-tier companies are likely to see diminished bargaining power with their suppliers, the institute said.

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