Manufacturers shipped nearly 6 million of the mini-laptops, with Acer leading the market with a 30.5% share.
Asus Eee PC 1000HE (click for larger image)
Global shipments of netbooks accounted for nearly a fifth of all the laptops shipped in the first quarter, a market research firm said Wednesday.
Manufacturers shipped nearly 6 million of the mini-laptops, with Acer leading the market with a 30.5% share, DisplaySearch said. Acer shipped twice as many netbooks than its closest rival, Asustek. Overall, Hewlett-Packard dominated the laptop market, shipping more than 7.3 million units, for a 24.1% share.
Netbooks sold best in Latin America and the Europe, Middle East, and Asia (EMEA) region, which excludes China and Japan, where shipments were the lowest, along with North America, the research firm said. About 45% of all netbooks shipped into EMEA, compared with 26% in North America. European sales were helped by telecom companies, which offered heavily discounted netbooks with the purchase of two-year data plans.
Overall, EMEA accounted for 38% of the total laptop market, while North America was less than 30%. Acer passed Dell for the No. 2 position, capturing 18.8% of the market. Dell fell to No. 3, followed by Toshiba and Lenovo, respectively. With the exception of Acer, the other top five computer makers shipped less than 10% of their volume as netbooks, DisplaySearch said.
"It is clear at the moment that mini-notes play a vital role in the total PC market," DisplaySearch analyst John F. Jacobs said in a statement. Without netbooks, the laptop market would have been down 19% from the first quarter of 2008, instead of only falling 3%.
DisplaySearch isn't alone in finding netbooks driving the PC market in terms of shipments during the economic downturn. Gartner and IDC have drawn similar conclusions. However, the low-cost devices, which typically sell for as little as $300, have significantly lowered the average selling price of products for Acer.
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