UMPCPortal Predicts: Global Netbook Sales Numbers, 2008-2011

Posted on 02 September 2008, Last updated on 02 September 2008 by

Summary of global sales

  • Europe. 700 million people. 2.7million sales. Penetration rate 0.0038
  • US, CN, AU, HK, JP. 500 million people. 1.9 million sales. Penetration rate 0.0038
  • CN, TW, SN, ID. 1500 million people. 0.57 millions sales. Penetration rate 0.00038
  • Rest of the world. 3900 million people. 0.15 millions sales. Penetration rate 0.000038

Total global netbook sales – 12 months from July 2008:
5.3 million

Here’s a simple stab at growth rates. I don’t see anyone getting richer so the penetration numbers based on raw sales should stay the same but I think there are at least two new markets. First, I think there’s a untapped ARM-based/smartphone-based netbook market to come though where we’ll see very low-end, linux-based 2.5G-enabled netbooks built around basic smartphones and becoming available at sub $200 prices. I think we’ll see some significant growth as a result, especially in the poorer countries. Maybe a doubling of penetration or more across Africa and Asia adding, say, 2 million sales. I think there’s much much more potential here for a new communications revolution in the 3rd world but it’s difficult to understand or predict how this might progress based on political and commercial considerations.

The second significant sales increases will come with bundling. These desirable little netbook devices are going to be used with bundles and as loss-leaders for any number of products and up there at #1 is the mobile phone market. I see mobile phone bundling doubling the global sales numbers. Easily. When you buy your next phone contract expect to be offered a free netbook if you sign up for the ‘media data’ plan. That will be your complete one-stop-shop for broadband, TV, telephony, music purchases and all the other pull-through sales. You’ll take it too as it will be cheaper than your current TV, audio and broadband package. Sold! And then sold again to your wife and teenage kid 6 months later! Simply double the global sales numbers to 14.6 million. (I’m tempted to say treble but lets assume that we’re going in to a global recession.) Add on the loss-leader sales and ‘givaways’ with holidays, cars and Happy Meals (!) which will total another million (yes, that figure is just a guess) and we’re at a total figure of

Average 15.6 Million netbook sales per annum from 2009 to 2011.

Its difficult to predict what will happen after 2011. I personally believe that we’ll be carrying far more powerful smartphones, MIDs and Carrypads that will lessen the need for netbooks and that netbooks will evolve into small 10" and 12" full-power, low-cost notebooks that will replace most traditional 13, 14 and 15" notebooks but that’s open for a big debate!

So there you have it. My fag-packet predictions for netbook sales. Lets compare it to some industry reports.

It looks like we’re all on the same track here (apart from ASUS, who might be getting a little over excited and ahead of themselves) and it will be interesting to look back in the coming years to see how the netbook market really performed.

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