Notebook sales aren't off to such a stellar start in 2013, but ultrabooks could spark a comeback later on this year, according to a new market report from IHS. Sales of notebook PCs are expected to hit 35.2 million shipments this in the first quarter of 2013, marking a 15 percent decrease from the 41.4 million figure seen in Q4 2012.
It’s not uncommon to see notebook shipments dip during the first quarter, but this year’s decrease is particularly noticeable.
"Notebook ODMs in early 2013 are feeling the pain from the combined impacts of uncertain economic conditions and slower-than-expected sales of Ultrabook PCs," Peter Lin, senior analyst at IHS said in a statement.
Even Taiwan’s top ranked ODM is projected to see a significant fall in early 2013. Quanta, a company that has worked with big-sellers such as Apple, Sony, and Lenovo, could see shipments dwindle by more than 10 percent in Q1 2013.
Part of this sluggish trend in notebook sales could be attributed to the rising popularity of mobile devices, Lin continued to say.
"More importantly, smartphones and tablets have been outselling notebook computers, and demand for ultrabooks and other ultrathin PCs so far has not taken off as expected," said Lin.
Still, these ultrabooks are expected to breathe life back into the portable PC market during the second half of 2013. IHS predicts that laptop-tablet hybrids, such as the assortment of Windows 8-based devices that feature detachable keyboards, will revive sales in mid-2013.
"However, an expected increase in demand for Ultrabooks and other ultrathins will help reignite notebook PC shipments from ODMs to their client OEMs in the second half," said Lin.
Essentially, the term ultrabook describes thin and lightweight personal computers that manage to pack the same hardware specs of larger, clunkier devices. Some may say that Apple’s MacBook Air popularized the genre, but these days it seems as if manufacturers are popping out sleeker and smaller laptops with each passing day. Some of our favorite Ultrabooks are Asus’ Zenbook Prime UX31A and Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon.