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TrendForce Reports First-Quarter Notebook Shipments Grew 6.1% Year on Year Against Seasonal Headwinds

Global notebook shipments totaled around 37.81 million units for the first quarter of 2017, reports TrendForce. This figure represents a 15.6% decline from prior quarter’s result but also a 6.1% year-on-year increase. The first-quarter shipments were augmented by some unfulfilled demand left over from the previous quarter. There were also major deal opportunities related to bidding for business notebook contracts and releases of new product models. Furthermore, channel distributors also increased their stock-up of notebook products in anticipation of price hikes from brand vendors later on. As a result, notebook shipments were higher than expected for the traditional off season.

TrendForce notebook analyst Anita Wang stated that the second-quarter shipment outlook remains positive as demand is still being generated by the arrival of new products and biddings for business notebook contracts. Total volume for the second quarter is projected to grow 1~3% year on year.

Whether shipments will continue to grow year on year in the third quarter is uncertain. As for this year’s fourth quarter, shipments will likely fall compared with the same period a year ago. “North America had a substantial wave replacement demand from government agencies in last year’s fourth quarter,” said Wang, “Without similar demand contribution, the global notebook market will be a bit cooler during this year’s second half. TrendForce projects that the 2017 global shipments will fall by 2~4% compared with preceding year’s shipments.”

HP posted a strong year-on-year growth of 18.9%

HP was firmly secured in its position as the notebook shipment leader. The brand gained from the additional demand in North America’s enterprise market and won sizable orders for business notebooks. In addition to these two major factors, HP’s new notebook models that were released this March saw strong shipments to channel distributors. HP’s first-quarter shipments came to 8.62 million units. While this result amounted to a 17.9% drop compared with the prior quarter, it also translated to a significant year-on-year growth of 18.9%.

Lenovo has retained second place in the global shipment ranking for four consecutive quarters. “Lenovo stepped up shipments from January to March of 2017 because this period was also the final quarter of its 2016 fiscal year,” Wang pointed out. “Additionally, the brand’s strategy for Europe has been very effective.” Lenovo shipped about 8 million units this first quarter, down by 16.4% from the preceding three-month period but up slightly by 1.6% from a year ago.

Dell has experienced steady demand from the enterprise clients and benefitted from the stable North American market. The brand was third place in the first-quarter ranking with shipments fell by 18.7% against last year’s fourth quarter to 5.4 million units.

Apple has enjoyed brisk sales of MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and will update its 12-inch MacBook device this second quarter

ASUS shipped 3.65 million units, a decrease of 17% compared with the prior quarter and a drop of 9.9% year on year. ASUS was affected by the high costs of key components and the wide currency exchange fluctuations that also exacerbated production costs besides denting sales revenue. “Sales prices of the older notebook models from ASUS do not correspond to their high production costs,” Wang noted. “Furthermore, channel distributors are reporting that their inventories of the brand’s products are piling up. ASUS therefore will want to maximize its profits and clear out inventories of older models before trying to push up shipments again.”

Apple shipped 3.4 million units of MacBook devices this first quarter and claimed fifth place in the ranking. The latest generation of MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which was released in last year’s fourth quarter, was well-received by consumers and contributed significantly to the overall MacBook shipments. As a result, first-quarter MacBook shipments, while representing a 15.8% decline versus the prior quarter, also showed a year-on-year increase of 15.4%. Furthermore, TrendForce estimates that MacBook shipments for this second quarter will grow by more than 10% compared with the first quarter. This projection is attributed to Apple’s plan to update its 12-inch MacBook with a new processor and the possibility of promotional pricing for some older models.

The sixth-place Acer shipped 3.33 million units, a decrease of 12.7% from the prior quarter but a large year-on-year increase of 28.6%. Acer’s result was mainly based on its aggressive expansion into the Chromebook market and on channel distributors having low inventories of the brand’s products. Channel distributors have also been anticipating the steady increase of device production costs, so they expanded their stocking of notebooks from Acer during this first quarter. Consequently, Acer was able to pull closer to the fifth-place Apple.

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