updated 04:00 pm EDT, Fri May 1, 2009
iSuppli on Netbook Cooloff
Despite currently strong interest, the netbook industry is likely to cool off sharply in as little as a year, an iSuppli estimate said today. The research predicts that netbook shipments are likely to surge 68.5 percent in 2009 versus the year earlier but that this growth rate will be cut almost in half to 39.6 percent in 2010 and by two thirds to 13.1 percent in 2013. The growth will still be relatively strong as each figure builds on the earlier year's numbers, according to principal PC analyst Matthew Wilkins, but shows the rapid expansion of 2008 quickly tapering off.
He also advises PC builders to resist countering any drops in growth by creating particularly high-end netbooks that compete on features over cost. With many netbooks now just $100 away from low-end conventional notebooks, the concern exists that more expensive models would risk overlap and see low-end notebooks cannibalize sales in the process.
The estimates fly against some of the expectations of PC makers, which have continued to expand their netbook lines due to demand. Companies centering heavily on netbooks, such as Acer and ASUS, have profited heavily from the platform but are also believed by market share researchers to be artificially propping up PCs by selling many low-cost netbooks. Traditional semiconductor and computer companies have had their margins hurt as they make little money from each individual system.