TrendForce’s latest research reveals the notebook shipments for the first quarter of 2015 posted a significant quarterly decline of 17.5%, with 38.43 million units shipped. One usual factor to the drop in shipments was seasonality. The other factor was the earlier-than-usual stock up efforts at the end of 2014, which led to a sharp rise in panel stocks and channel inventories. In the brand shipment rankings for the first quarter, Lenovo became the leader for the first time with 7.84 million units shipped (excluding products under its acquired brand). HP was pushed down to second place with 7.42 million units shipped.
TrendForce points out that with the launching of new notebooks in the second quarter, every brand will work hard to raise their sales figures for the first half of 2015 as to compensate for the disappointing first quarter results. The second quarter notebook shipments are therefore expected to grow by 7~8% quarterly. Nonetheless, some of the market demand have already been taken away by the low-price notebooks that dominated last year’s markets. Furthermore, the market drive caused by Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Intel’s new CPU may only have a moderate effects on notebook sales. On the whole, TrendForce expects brand vendors will have a challenging year as the replacement demand will be quite weak.
Vendors suffered severe negative shipment growths in the first quarter with Apple and HP having the biggest declines at around 30%
Lenovo took the crown of top notebook brand with a much smaller shipment decline of 7.7% relative to its competitors. The main reason for Lenovo’s success was that its primary markets, China and North America, were not caught up in currency depreciation. Other brands were not as fortunate and their profits were eroded by weak exchange rates.
The longtime number one vendor HP shipped 10.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2014, which represented its biggest quarterly shipment since 2010. Even with this impressive record, HP was unable to escape from the seasonality effects during the first quarter of 2015. Compared with the previous quarter, HP suffered a steep 28.5% decline in notebook shipments in the first quarter despite making efforts to turn sales around in March. HP retreated to second place in ranking while Dell, which was also experiencing weak front-end demands, stayed at third with a 13.8% quarterly decline in shipments.
Taiwan-based Acer and Asus have been focusing on Europe and emerging markets, thus their sales were severely affected by the currency depreciations of those markets. Set against the previous quarter, Acer and Asus’s notebook shipments for the first quarter of 2015 fell by 12.8% and 24% respectively.
The first quarter has usually been the off-peak season for Apple’s notebook shipments. Moreover, the new 12-inch MacBook and upgraded MacBook Air and Pro series did not make substantial contributions to Apple’s notebook sales until the second quarter. Consequently, Apple saw its first quarter shipment plummeted by 30.5% compared with the prior quarter.
As for Korean-based Samsung and Japan’s Toshiba, their fixed small monthly shipments indicate that they are gradually withdrawing from the notebook market due to the immense competitive pressures.