The demand for work-from-home and e-learning devices triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has driven strong consumption of notebook computers, Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) said in a note on Friday.
Overall notebook shipments should see an upside in the second half of the year, mostly on Chromebook demand based on Yuanta’s channel checks, with global Chromebook shipments likely to increase by nearly 100 percent year-on-year, mainly because of demand from the US and Japan, it said.
Given that Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦) has a more than 60 percent share of the Chromebook original design manufacturing (ODM) business, coupled with strong demand for Macbooks that is expected for the second half of the year, Quanta is likely to see higher annual growth in notebook shipments than other ODM firms, Yuanta analyst Harvey Kao (高啟瑋) said.
Quanta, the leading contract laptop maker, is forecast to ship 51 million notebooks, up from 35 million units last year, Kao said.
Since Quanta has decided to drop its loss-making wearable product line and diversify into more smart devices with other leading US clients, its product mix and profitability are expected to improve over the long term, he said.
“Going forward, with more educational tools adopted for e-learning and the higher possibility of accidental damage to notebooks among students, procurement and replacement demand for laptops should see stable growth in the coming years,” Kao said.
Quanta reported that revenue last month grew 0.13 percent monthly and 18.41 percent annually to NT$93.47 billion (US$3.16 billion), with laptop shipments rising 10.64 percent from May and 52.94 percent from a year earlier to 5.2 million units, company data showed.
Second-quarter revenue increased 42.02 percent from the first quarter and 9.96 percent higher than a year earlier to NT$270.22 billion, with laptop shipments surging by 98.63 percent from the previous quarter to 14.5 million units, or 66.67 percent higher than a year ago, the Quanta data showed.
Jih Sun Securities Investment Consulting Co (日盛投顧) attributed the second-quarter growth to robust laptop and server shipments, and said the work-from-home and e-learning trends would extend into the third quarter, boosting Chromebook and cloud server demand.
“The company’s Chromebook orders are expected to remain strong this quarter, while shipments of servers are likely to maintain double-digit percentage growth this year,” Jih Sun researcher Satin Lin (林子楹) said in a separate note on Monday last week.
In a research report issued on July 9, International Data Corp (IDC) said consumers bought more PCs — including Chromebooks — in the second quarter as students and employees stayed home to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, pushing global PC shipments up 11.2 percent annually to 72.3 million units.
However, IDC said that strong computer sales last quarter only reflected short-term business needs and online education demand amid the pandemic.
“The strong demand driven by work-from-home as well as e-learning needs has surpassed previous expectations and has once again put the PC at the center of consumers’ tech portfolio,” IDC research manager Jitesh Ubrani said in a statement. “What remains to be seen is if this demand and high level of usage continue during a recession and into the post-COVID world since budgets are shrinking while schools and workplaces reopen.”
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