Worldwide notebook shipments for the first half of 2016 fell just 4% year on year to 74.18 million units, according to global research firm TrendForce. Channel inventories returned to a healthy level in the second quarter. At the same time, there was a significant increase in stock-up demand due to arrivals of new notebook products and preparations for back-to-school sales in September. These factors led to an above-expected shipment results.
“Notebook sales usually enter the peak period during the last six months of the year,” said TrendForce notebook analyst Anita Wang. “For this year’s second half, however, branded notebook vendors will be facing shortages and price hikes for numerous key components. This will create pressure that limits their abilities to promote their products. For instance, South Korean panel makers have announced that they will be scaling back or ceasing the production of high-definition twisted nematic LCD panels (HD TN panels). These panels are used in the displays of mainstream notebook products, and their prices are now in an upswing on account of the suppliers’ plans. Additionally, prices of both DRAM and NAND Flash have gone up entering the third quarter. Rising component costs will constrain the sales momentum of notebooks, resulting in an unavoidable decline in annual notebook shipments.”
TrendForce’s projection for the second half of 2016 indicates that notebook shipments during the traditional peak sales season may be weaker than expected. The ratio between shipment volumes of the first and second half of the year will be 47:53.
Lenovo was No. 1 in half-year shipment ranking while Apple posted a 30.3% sequential increase in MacBook shipments for second quarter
Lenovo registered two consecutive quarters of strong notebook shipments and was able to narrowly surpass HP to clinch first place in the half-year ranking. The Chinese brand shipped 16.15 million units during the first six months of the year on account of tremendous sales results in Americas and Asia Pacific in the second quarter.
HP was No. 2 in the ranking with 15.8 million units shipped for this year’s first half. Despite posting a 17.9% sequential growth in the second quarter, HP was unable to catch up to Lenovo as its first-quarter shipments were too low. “HP will have an advantage over Lenovo in the U.S. and European markets during the second half of the year, so the brand has a chance to become the top vendor again based on annual shipments,” said Wang.
Dell took third place in the ranking with a year-on-year growth rate of 11.1% for its half-year shipments. The market launch of new Chromebook products helped Dell to almost double its Chromebook shipments in the second quarter. This in turn contributed to the growth of the brand’s total notebook shipments.
ASUS kept up its quarterly notebook shipments to around 4 million units for the first half of 2016 and has remained as the fourth-largest brand worldwide by shipments. Since ASUS’s strategy focuses on raising product margins, models with full high-definition (FHD) displays now account for about 30% of the brand’s total notebook shipments. FHD penetration rates in HP’s and Lenovo’s shipments are lower by contrast.
Apple’s MacBook shipments in the second quarter were up 30.3% versus the first quarter, placing the brand on the fifth spot of the half-year ranking. This shipment surge was generated by the release of an upgraded 12-inch model of the latest MacBook. TrendForce expects MacBook shipments to register sequential growth in the third and fourth quarter because Apple will also be releasing new products for both periods.
Acer’s second-quarter notebook shipments rose 19.1% sequentially due to returning stock-up demands from channels. Still, the Taiwanese brand lagged behind Apple in growth momentum and had to settle for sixth place in the half-year shipment ranking. “The tightening of HD TN panel supply in the second half of the year will have a serious impact on Acer’s shipments because models with HD TN panels currently make up nearly 90% of the brand’s total shipments,” added Wang.