Ultrabook Sales Skyrocket

A year after tablets took a chunk of the market, ultrabooks bounced back with a vengeance: a 248% surge in sales by Q1 this year, according to research boffins at the GfK Group. To make sure they capture more sales for the rest of the year and onward, manufacturers are looking into ultrabook and tablet hybrids.

Ultrabook sales skyrocket

Ultrabook sales shoot up 248%, newer models like this Acer Aspire S5 will definitely keep the trend going. (Image: Abe Olandres)

GfK looked into 50 countries around the world (skipping North and Central America) and compared figures from January to March 2011 with sales for the same period in 2012.

Global demand for ultra-thin notebooks has been seeing consistent uptrend in the last four consecutive quarters which sold over 1.2 million units worldwide. Defined as notebooks 2 centimetres or less in thickness and weigh less than 1.5 kilograms, latest findings revealed over half a million of such devices worth nearly USD1.4 billion being snapped up in the first quarter of 2012 alone.

Last week’s Computex in Taipei highlighted the latest slew of ultrabooks and hybrids that will hit the shelves in the coming months. Taiwan consumers alone bought 42,000 ultrabooks in the last six months, almost ensuring a bumper harvest for the latest models — barring a major occurrence that stops manufacturers from churning out ultra-thin computers.

The trend in prices dipped (10%) from last year to Q1 this year while the specs got higher, making ultrabooks all the more appealing to consumers. The OS is also getting prettier, with Windows 8 flexing its quads and lats from one computer or IT expo to the next.

Ms. Lydia Huang, General Manager of GfK Taiwan noted the strong sales figures were due to the wealth of choices in the ultrabook sector.

Along with the rest of the world, Taiwanese consumers have also been eagerly embracing these new generation laptops— one of the latest trends in computing technology. The market registered a strong 267 percent surge in demand in the fourth quarter of 2011 over the previous quarter, thanks to the slew of new models introduced into the market to whet consumers’ appetite. In first quarter of this year, more than five times as many ultra-thin notebooks were sold compared to a year ago!

Ultrabooks in Taiwan have become even cheaper, falling as low as 13% compared to last year. With more models and brands to choose from, units that cost less than US$1,499 have been snapped up in the last three months. Higher-priced ultrabooks ($1,500 to 1,699) have seen a 25% dip in sales though. Ms. Huang sees great potential sales growth in the ultrabook sector for years to come.

With the rising number of exciting yet more affordable varieties laid out in front of consumers, sleeker, lighter and feature-packed ultra-thin notebook looks set to become a stylish and fashionable personal lifestyle device for many people. Judging by its growing rate of adoption, we can anticipate manufacturers to be placing more emphasis and putting more investments into this highly potential ultra-thin notebook market which we can anticipate more exciting developments in the foreseeable future.