Ultrabook Shipment Forecast Downgraded
October 2, 2012

Forecast Slashed For Ultrabook Shipments

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Shipments of ultrabooks could be off more than 50 percent this year, according to new projections from research firm IHS iSuppli.

The firm also cut its 2013 forecasts, citing high prices and a lack of effective marketing strategies to lure customers away from popular tablets and smartphones.

IHS had previously forecast 22 million units of ultrabooks would ship worldwide by the end of the year, but revised those figures on Monday down to just 10.3 million units.

The marketing firm also slashed its 2013 projections, from 61 million units to 44 million units worldwide.

“There once was a time when everyone knew the 'Dude you´re getting a Dell´ slogan. Nowadays no one can remember a tag line for a new PC product, including for any single ultrabook,” said Craig Stice, senior principal analyst for computer platforms at IHS.

“So far, the PC industry has failed to create the kind of buzz and excitement among consumers that is required to propel ultrabooks into the mainstream. This is especially a problem amid all the hype surrounding media tablets and smartphones.”

“When combined with other factors, including prohibitively high pricing, this means that ultrabook sales will not meet expectations in 2012.”

Despite the sobering forecast revisions, IHS said the challenges facing the industry are not insurmountable, and is still predicting that shipments will rise by more than 300 percent in 2013. Growth is also expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with shipments expanding to 95 million units by 2016, the research firm said.

In addition to marketing shortcomings, ultrabooks need to get more units into the $600 price range -- down from the current $1,000 price level -- in order to attain the volumes needed to enter the mainstream, IHS said.

If not, “their sales will continue to struggle in 2013 as they must compete against lower-priced options, such as tablets and smartphones.”

“With the economy languishing, ultrabook sellers may have trouble finding buyers at the current pricing, especially with fierce competition from new mobile computing gadgets such as the iPhone 5, Kindle Fire HD and forthcoming Microsoft Surface,” Stice added.

The research firm also cited Intel´s increasingly stringent set of designations for ultrabooks, which has resulted in some notebooks once classified as ultrabooks now being labeled as ultrathins.

A summary of the IHS report, including the revised projections for ultrabook shipments, can be viewed here.