36 million units of netbooks were sold in 2009, and in 2010, market research firm ABI predicts that a whopping 58 million units could potentially be sold! This increase in shipments is due to a multitude of reasons, such as the increased portability and convenience of netbooks and the impact that the downturn economy has had on people’s financial and budgeting agendas.
According to ABI Analyst, Jeff Orr, “We expect the netbook market to fragment according to different regional value propositions. Functionality will be added to mainstream netbook products while at the same time an entry-level netbook solution will grow, with the aim of targeting some large emerging markets (including China and India) where PC penetration is still quite low.”
In addition to the netbook market, ABI also foresees growth in the tablet market, currently led by Apple’s iPad. The company is predicting that 8 million tablet-style netbooks (or just plain tablets) will be shipped in 2010.
Not only are netbook sales set to explode in 2009 and beyond – they’re also supposed to brush aside ultraportable laptops in the eyes of consumers.
According to the International Data Corp, 20.6 million netbooks will be shipped this year – twice as many as ultraportables. Ultraportables are a size up from netbooks, coming in at about 11-13.3 inch display sizes and 2-4 founds. They have made up about 8-10% of the notebook market, said one IDC analyst.
As of 2009, however, their piece of the consumer pie will drop to a mere 5.7%. To contrast, netbooks will crank it up all the way to 12.3%. O’Donnel of the IDC summarized it succinctly: “Mininotebooks — which is what we prefer to call them because ‘netbook’ is an Intel marketing term — are having a big impact on ultraportables.”
UMPCs were factored in as well, and are expected to sell barely a million devices this year. This is three times the number in 2008, but little compared to netbook sales. Their sales may grow in 2010 as well – “They’re enjoying a very slow climb, but they’re too small and too underpowered,” said Kevin Burden of ABI.
The only portable sector not yet outsold by the netbook category are, of course, laptops. IDC puts their sales at a 15% increase over 2008, raising them to a solid 137 million.