Punters to pick up cheap laptops not Ultrabooks
Consumers too price-wary for skinny tech, says analyst
Ultrabooks are still too darn pricey for punters, with the new skinny laptops' average selling price during Q4 2011 63 per cent higher than that of regular notebooks.
Worse, said UK-based market watcher Context, which released the figures today, Ultrabooks are, on average, more than three times the price of a netbook.
Context, which tracks European technology sales channels through to the point before kit enters consumers' hands, said Ultrabooks costs, on average €670 (£557) in Q4 2011. That's before sales tax.
That compares to €410 (£341) for traditional consumer notebooks and €197 (£164) for netbooks.
“Ultrabooks were launched in a market characterised by strong economic constraints and very tight consumer wallets," said Marie-Christine Pygott, a Context senior analyst.
“With traditional notebook pricing decreasing even further year on year, those consumers who are buying notebooks over tablets, are still doing so with price points in mind, rather than a focus on weight and battery life.”
Weight, battery life and overall portability are the key characteristics Intel has highlighted to promote Ultrabooks. The chip giant reckons 40 per cent of consumer notebook sales in 2012 will be Ultrabooks.
Acer accounted for 62 per cent of Ultrabook shipments in Western Europe through distribution during Q4 2011, followed by Toshiba, Asus and Lenovo.
"Consumers are more likely to choose a tablet PC or cheap, traditional notebook, particularly if the current economic pressures persist,” said Pygott.
AMD's skinnybook platform, Ultrathin, may help push down prices later in the year, as will the launch of Intel's Ivy Bridge platform. ®
Finally someone gets it
The Ultrabook price points are too high for these to become mainstream. Not in this economy at least.
Also, memo to Acer, but raising your prices does not make you Apple. Got it?
UltraBook Price Point
As I see it, the benchmark for these devices is the MacBook Air. IT was arguably successful the first device to carry that moniker.
Along come the UltraBook makers and see the $$$$, ££££ €€€€ signs and price their offerings in the same price bracket as the Air.
UK Punters seemingly don't want a 'slightly larger than a netbook netbook' whoose only other USP is its profile. Now there is a surprice.
I see the same with the better Android Tablets. They are priced very close to the iPad. Even the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is not selling in the same volumes as the iPad.
I've seen many comments (about UltraBooks and Android Tablets) that go something like
"If they reduce the price by £100 then I'll buy one."
One of these days, perhaps the likes of Asus, Acer etc will get the message.
They can't charge the same as Apple simply because they are NOT APPLE.
Paid for stating the obvious...
Become a consultant.
While the ultrabook idea is easy to sell to manufacturers (make these and the consumers will happily pay a premium for them), the market segment that buys these premium products has already been targeted for many years with a varying degree of success BUT IS NOT LIKELY TO GROW AS IT IS ALREADY SATURATED!
If you wish to sell products and avoid losing the home computer market to ARM, create products that appeal to the market segments that are under attack from smart phones and tablets. i.e. simple, low cost Internet PC's/laptops.
You won't make the same profit margins as you will on your ultrabooks, but you will retain your processor market share and be able to compete with ARM instead of becoming another processor manufacturer on the brink of extinction that just serves the server market.
When Windows 8/Android are usable on ARM-based systems in businesses no one will remember you in 50 years time...
Not just me, Clues for the Clueless
The pricing of netbooks has been all over the map, manufacturers should have a bloody clue about where the sweet spot and customers are by now.
I've picked up 11" 1388x768 screen Acer models for $165 on sale/clearance, they are regularly $329, but clearly not moving at that, hence the 3-4 week dumping cycle. The AMD models run 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium, not the 32-bit Starter crap on the Intel models.
I can pick up a quad cored 17" laptop with a 1600x900 for $400-500 without effort. A 7" tablet for $200-$250 (Fire, Nook Color/Tablet), and 10" for $300 (Acer 500)
I'm not going to spend $700-$900 on an UltraBook for my technology grab-n-go bag, or family members who want to surf, shop or do email. Or for that matter something with a ~18 month replacement cycle.
If i wanted to spend that on dropable/discardable tech I'd be an Apple customer. And I'd want 1600x900 resolution.
For UltraBooks to fly off the shelves they are going to need to be below $400, and preferably below $300.