iPad gouges netbook sales
Punters keep taking the tablets
Tablets look set to displace the netbook, if figures from market watcher DisplaySearch are to be believed.
DisplaySearch tracks all mobile computer sales, from netbooks through ultra-portables right the way up to desktop replacement behemoths.
The telling figures are netbooks' share of the overall mobile computer market. According to DisplaySearch's data, this rose from just under 14 per cent in Q3 2008 to around 20 per cent in Q2 2009 - this time last year. Since then the share figure has stayed static at just over 20 per cent.
Netbook and tablet combined share of portable PC market
Ignore the dip in Q1 2009, and the figure has been roughly the same since Q4 2008.
This shows netbooks have found their niche - though at a fifth of the mobile computer market, it's a big one.
But now tablets, and the iPad in particular, are eating into netbook sales.
DisplaySearch puts the Apple gadget's share of the netbook segment at 6.5 per cent in Q1 2010 - Apple shipped 700,000 of them into retail channels - rising to 30 per cent in Q2, though that remains a forecast aS the quarter's not done yet.
Crucially, that plateau share of the overall portable PC arena includes tablets. So iPad sales have come primarily at the cost of netbook sales, eating into the latter to keep the overall group's market share the same.
That's just the iPad - more tablets are coming, from HP and Samsung to name but two.
Netbook and iPad shipment volumes
Note: Q2 2010 figures are forecasts
Of course, some folk use netbooks as compact notebooks rather than media consumption and communications tools, which is the role the iPad has been given. But it's clear from DisplaySearch's numbers that the other group of users and buyers - those who might have bought a netbook simply for browsing, Tweeting and so forth - are turning to tablets.
If that were not the case, then Apple's sales would simply add to the total, boosting the netbook/tablet group's share of the total mobile computer market, but DisplaySearch's number show that wasn't the case. Equally, there's been no huge leap in overall mobile PC sales to allow the unchanged netbook and additional iPad sales to together retain the almost exactly same market share as the pre-iPad days showed. That's too much of a coincidence for us.
Clearly, then, the iPad isn't only being bought by fanboys.
Still, the real test for Apple will be when its offering gets some proper competition. Even if it doesn't, that's still not good news for netbook makers. ®
Note the caption "Q2 2010 figures are forecasts" so the vast majority of this conclusion is based on what are essentially made up figures. There is also no proven relationship here, just two sets of figures that correlate and a theory that fits said correlation. Whatever rationale you use including "if this wasn't the case the total would increase" is an assumption until you can demonstrate evidence of an actual causal link. There are other possible explanations for a dip in Netbook sales including market saturation or a seasonal variation. It's worth a note that you conveniently instruct readers to ignore similar dip during the same quarter last year because it doesn't fit your own opinion. It's bad mathematics, bad analysis and specious reasoning all rolled into one tenuous editorialisation.
Wintel have done their darndest to hobble the netbook market since the original eepc was released. Artificial limitations on RAM and screens along with ballooning hardware requirements needed to support Windows instead of Linux have turned NBs from what were once cheap and cheerful lightweight 'net access devices into overpriced and underpowered mini laptops.
Now apple has come out and created a not quite as cheap but even more cheerful lightweight 'net access device and all the people that could no longer purchase such a device come out of the woodwork and give apple their business instead. Add to that the fanboi's and mom & pop market and you have the makings of a successful product.
I for one expect the trend to continue as more apps are released for the ipad at least until ARM based android/chrome devices become available*.
* If that ever happens of course.
Fail for Wintel and their craven OEM "partners"
As the iPad is NOT a netbook replacement, but is supposed to be a revolutionary new device that sits between the netbook and the laptop, we really need to include laptop sales figures here. From Q1 to Q2:
Netbook sales: - 0.5 Million
iPad sales: + 2.4 Million
Laptop sales: + 8 Million
However, the figures that actually matter are the year-on-year ones. These are:
Netbook sales: + 2.1 Million
iPad sales: + 3.7 Million
Laptop sales: + 21 Million
So, really we need to look at the figures in 9 months time to see what's really going on. Apple have secured a chunk of the portable computer market, but the growth of this sector is high and the iPad will need to be selling around 6 million per quarter this time next year to be maintaining their new market share.