Ultrabooks Boost Laptop Sales

Posted on 30 June 2012 By


According to an NPD report, Ultrabooks are selling well in some segments of the US market. In the Jan-May 2012 period they helped push an increase in sales of the $700 + segment and comprised nearly 11% of that part of the market.Month-on-month growth seems to be strong too.

700 segment growth

Soure: NPD

Overall the $700 segment represents  14% of the laptop market but profit per unit and profit margins are generally higher so it’s an important figure.

Global Laptop/Mobile PC sales figures around the world range about 210-250 million units meaning, given equal sales figures per quarter and a similar spread globally, Ultrabooks are selling well under 0.5 million units per month. That’s not too impressive.

It’s too early in the year to get reliable global figures though. The big sales season starts soon with back-to-school and then the end-of-year push. The US market is obviously different to many other markets too. We’ll also be seeing price drops based on the new competition in the market and another wave of interest when Windows 8 is released.

NPD reports that the average selling price of an Ultrabook in the USA in May was $885. Given that the new back-to-school models were first available in June, expect that number to drop a lot next time round.

Take a look at the trend in search too. There’s big growth there as the Ultrabook search term moves closer to crossing over the declining netbook term. We’ve also seen a huge increase in the number of search terms people are using which indicates more detailed research. Affiliate sales through our buying tools are growing too.

Although the news is about the $700+ segment today, the indicators are positive for an impact on the whole of the laptop market in 2012 and we expect to be kept extremely busy through the 2nd half of the year.

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  1. #1 by DavidC1 on July 2, 2012 - 14:26

    I think US represents middle of the road market for Ultrabooks. European market is too bound by the recent financial gloom, and they also like larger 14+ inch screens like the US.

    Asian markets like small 11-13 inch form factors most of the Ultrabooks lie in, so they might end up doing better.

    Price is a big factor for purchase. Even if Windows Ultrabooks can get positive reaction as Macbook Air does, that’s still 3-4 million/year, which is a pitiful number. Getting into the massive sales number seen with PC ecosystem is only possible with lower prices.

    It’s not bad considering we didn’t have really cheap ones and they were all based on 1st generation Ultrabooks. If the US figure is applicable for the world, it would mean 1.5 million Ultrabooks sold. I can see it easily doubling that for Q2 with Ivy Bridge and $699-799 systems.

  2. #2 by Adam on July 2, 2012 - 16:07

    DavidC1,

    I have to agree with you 100%. We need to see lower profit margins in those lower price points but Intel is trying to charge the same for the CPU regardless of whether it ends up in a $1,400, $1,000, or $600 computer… It certainly looks like their refusal to drop profit margins is just opening up a huge opportunity for the competition to make huge gains on them in market share.

    The whole ULV lineup needs to drop AT LEAST to similar profit margins as the regular core CPUs; they can’t act like they’re “premium products that demand a premium price point”; if you don’t have thin and light you don’t have a sale; sorry Intel but the bar has moved and this is the standard now, you can’t demand a premium price on these things…

    I’d love to see a profit margin drop on the Core i3 ULV parts, at least; there’s no justification of “premium” there as they don’t have to support such a dynamic TDP or power consumption or performance range; they just have to support the lower voltage and pretty predictable “normal” and “low” voltage specs.

    The new ULV Core i3 is pretty compelling, though and I think it would really eat into Core i5 and i7 share, if they did. ESPECIALLY considering that the Core i3 can be configured with the 13 watt TDP and REALLY sip power.

    The higher PROFIT in the ultrabook space can be seen when comparing to thin and light hardware from 2 years ago. I wish AMD and ARM nothing but success in competing with Intel in the mid perf, high efficiency market because Intel needs clubbed over the head with competition to bring the prices into alignment.

    Adam

    • #3 by Heirshia on July 2, 2012 - 19:23

      In the world of profit margins & the future, Intel is the poster-child for a company that just doesn’t “get it” & is why they will ultimately become irrelevant while losing the battle to ARM over the next decade..

      It’s still amazing to me to see certain industries/corporations spend decades building an empire only to lose their relevancy in a few short years because they refuse to adapt to the future in a futile attempt to protect their old business model. Intel will just be 1 more name to add on top of the pile with the music industry, Nintendo, Blackberry, & so many others.

    • #4 by DavidC1 on July 2, 2012 - 22:45

      Actually I think they are very competitive with AMD parts.

      If you see the HP Sleekbooks the Intel parts cost $100 more, with $50 split into the cached SSD and $50 to the CPU. But the AMD CPU is a far slower A6 part that performs at nearly half the performance of the Core i3. The Sandy Bridge generation is behind in graphics but Ivy Bridge will take care of that. While AMD is significantly ahead in higher TDP segments, they do not have an advantage at 17W.

      While AMD is far cheaper in list pricing, that’s can’t be more wrong in the real world. And people will pay the trivial $50 for a product with significant advantage.

      • #5 by Denar on July 13, 2012 - 10:32

        The ULV AMD A6 4455M should be comparable to ULV core i3 2367M in term of performance, and I think it is at 17W TDP. You either confused it with AMD Brazos or the ULV i3 with ULV i5 to come up with the “nearly half the performance” estimate.

  3. #6 by DavidC1 on July 15, 2012 - 01:50

    Denar :
    The ULV AMD A6 4455M should be comparable to ULV core i3 2367M in term of performance, and I think it is at 17W TDP. You either confused it with AMD Brazos or the ULV i3 with ULV i5 to come up with the “nearly half the performance” estimate.

    Hmm, yes it is.

    But here’s some benchmarks:
    Core i3 2367M: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Core-i3-2367M-Notebook-Processor.64165.0.html
    AMD A6-4400M: http://www.notebookcheck.com/AMD-A-Series-A6-4400M-Notebook-Prozessor.71725.0.html

    i3 2367M is faster than A6-4400M in…
    -Cinebench R11.5 MT 64-bit by 19%
    -Cinebench R10 MT 32-bit by 21%
    -Cinebench R10 MT 64-bit by 8%
    -X264 HD 1st pass by 4%
    -3DMark Vantage P CPU by 36%

    A6-4400M is faster than 2367M in…
    -3DMark06 CPU by 8%
    -Cinebench R10 ST 32-bit by 30%
    -Cinebench R10 ST 64-bit by 42%

    Even on X264 HD 2nd pass

    But…
    -The A6-4400M is a low end 35W part. It’s clocked some 30% higher than the A6-4455M we’re talking about
    -Sandy Bridge i3 has a 2377M with 100MHz higher clock
    -Ivy Bridge i3 clocks another 20% faster than the 2377M and 29% faster than 2367M

    That means against the A6-4455M, the i3 2367M will at worst case, be 10% slower, and in other cases end up 30-50% faster.

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