Although Juniper research have predicted that 178 million Ultrabooks will ship in 2016, they’ve also predicted that 20 million will sell in 2012. ABI Research have just issued a similar number but include Apple products in that figure.
20 million ultra-portable sales represents 8-10% of laptop sales and is nowhere near Intel’s original prediction of 40% although December-only figures could actually be much closer to that given that prices have dropped (we’ve already seen the first $499 Ultrabook offer) and that there are over 80 models covering low-cost, professional, business, touchscreen and convertible markets. There’s even evidence that Ultrabook-like features are moving into standard laptops as they get thinner, lighter and start to offer more hybrid and SSD storage options. But how much of the market is Apple taking?
In a previous report we estimated that MacBook Air models were selling at about 1 million units per quarter. That figure is up in 2012 so in the worst case, taking the lowest Ultrabook sales projection, MBAs could be accounting for 50% of ultrathin sales. With a sales figure of 20M ultrathins, as AB has predicted, MBAs would account for around 25% of that figure for 2012. But for Q4, and even more significantly, the sales period after Window 8 launch, things will look at lot different.
Not only have our affiliate sales figures increased to their highest levels of the year since Windows 8 launched but trends and traffic indicate that the amount of people searching for Ultrabook-related news doubled in November. Add to that the increased marketing and advertising activity, Windows 8 and touch-enabled offerings and no-one can really deny that there’s been a very sharp increase in activity and sales of Ultrabooks.
US markets appear to be the most active but there’s still a supply problem that may have stunted the growth. Many of the Ultrabooks announced with the launch of Windows 8 in October are still not available. That might help to carry sales into Q1 2013 if they become available in a second-wave (as they did in Q1 2012) but it will have had an impact on 2012 figures.
The most important indication that Ultrabook sales are growing and increasing as a percentage of overall laptop sales is pricing. Many Ultrabooks are now firmly in the mainstream pricing bands and offers down to $499 indicate that there’s still room for maneuver. Prices will continue to drop during 2013. As we move towards the system-on-chip Haswell prices of the 3rd Gen CPUs will also drop.
2012 hasn’t been as good as it might have been but the outlook for 2013 Ultrabook sales looks much better.
ABI Research latest statement can be found here.