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Although sales of netbooks declined in Q1 2009 compared to Q4 2009 due to traditionally weak seasonality, they still have about 20% share among branded mobile personal computers, which is quite high, according to market tracking firm DisplaySearch.

“It is clear at the moment that mini-notes play a vital role in the total PC market. Without the additional volume provided by these products, shipment volumes for the notebook PC market would have been down 19% year-over-year, instead of only falling 3%,” said John F. Jacobs, director of notebook market research at DisplaySearch.

Preliminary data from DisplaySearch reveals that shipments of almost 6 million netbooks raised their penetration in the notebook PC market close to 20% worldwide in Q1 2009. Acer was the leader in the netbook category with a market share of 30.5%, shipping twice as many netbooks as Asustek Computer, the second largest netbook supplied. HP continued their dominance of the notebook PC category, growing share to 24.1%, with more than 7.3 million shipped.

“While there is no doubt that many buyers of mini-notes would have chosen larger notebook PCs if mini-notes were not available, it is also certain that many buyers might have chosen not to purchase a notebook PC at all,” said Mr. Jacobs.

Penetration rates for netbooks were the highest in EMEA and Latin America, and the lowest in China, Japan and North America. Approximately 45% of all netbooks shipped in the quarter went into EMEA, compared to less than 26% in North America. By contrast, EMEA accounted for 38% of the total notebook market, while North America was less than 30%.

The differences in share between EMEA and North America may be a result of telecom subsidy plans in Europe. Telecom providers in Europe began experimenting with free or heavily discounted netbooks with the purchase of two-year data plans in early 2008, but the first U.S.-based telecom providers tried such subsidies in December 2008, and they have only very recently begun to expand these promotional programs.

For the notebook PC industry as a whole, Acer passed Dell, capturing 18.8% of the market. However, of the top five notebook PC brands, Acer had the greatest percentage of their total shipments accounted for by netbooks by far (31.6%), compared to HP, Dell, Toshiba and Lenovo, all of whom shipped less than 10% of their volume as netbooks.

Notebook and Mini-Note Shipments and Growth (millions), data by DisplaySearch

*In this table, the notebook PC shipments exclude mini-note shipments. The total row for each brand includes both mini-notes and notebook PCs.

Tags: Intel, Acer, ASUS

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