There has been some concern among enthusiasts that the emerging netbook market is nothing but a fad – it’s fun and interesting now, but it will die out soon enough. Intel and AMD sure seem to be very careful about the netbook market, but according to figures from DisplaySearch, the market for small notebooks has exploded over the course of a year.
Even though the computer industry overall is going through a rather tough period, the netbook segment of the market is the shining ray of light, showing a growth of over 160% quarter-over-quarter. Asus may have created the market, but the company lost significant market share to Acer, which is now the leader in the netbook segment, capturing a market share of 38.3%, compared to Asus’ 30.3%. These figures mean that Acer sold 2.15 million netbooks Q3 ’08, compared to Asus which sold 1.70 million.
The year-over-year growth in the market is also expected to be spectacular. “In 2007, this market was less than 1 million units. By the end of 2008, DisplaySearch expects this market to surge to more than 14 million units.” These are pretty decent figures, and could dispel the idea that netbooks are just a fad.
Where it gets really interesting is when you stop taking the netbook market apart from the total notebook market. In essence, a netbook is just a small notebook, after all.
These figures show that both Acer and Asus gained significant market share, with just about every other major brand losing share. Volume-wise, most companies grew year-over-year, with all but three companies beating Apple, the only major brand without an offering in this market. Obviously, this doesn’t mean Apple is losing out, as some websites seem to think: the fruity Cupertino company operates in higher market segments; it’s easier to score decent margins in the 1000-2000 USD range than it is to score in the 300-400 USD range. Simply put, Apple makes more money selling one MacBook than Acer does selling a One.
Still, these figures seem to indicate that there is more to the netbook market than just initial customer curiosity. Companies that currently do not operate in the netbook market may have to re-evaluate their stance, and enter the market anyway: it’s growing, and will surely eat away at pricier segments.