Consumers unclear over Ultrabooks, claims analyst
Consumers have yet to get to grips with the Ultrabook, according to research from Gartner, which showed the new format had failed to boost flagging PC sales.
According to figures from the market watcher, worldwide PC shipments totalled 92.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 1.4% decline from the fourth quarter of 2010.
Gartner blamed the economic crisis and sluggish demand in mass markets in Europe and the US for the disappointing results, and suggested the industry could need to increase marketing for the Intel-led Ultrabook format.
“Ultrabooks were quietly introduced into the market during the Q4 2011 holiday season,” said Mikako Kitagawa, a principal analyst at Gartner.
“Ultrabooks didn’t seem to draw consumers’ attention. Consumers had very little understanding and awareness of Ultrabooks, and only a small group of consumers was willing to pay the price premium for such models.”
Ultrabooks didn’t seem to draw consumers’ attention. Consumers had very little understanding and awareness of them
According to Gartner, 2012 could be an important year for Ultrabooks, with the format being one of the buzzes at this year’s CES.
Overall, HP maintained its position as top PC vendor despite its sales dropping by 16% in Q4 compared to the same period in 2010. The company still had a 16% share of the market, although Lenovo, which saw growth of 23%, was closing in fast with a 14% share of sales.
In Europe, the economic uncertainty continues to impact on sales, Gatner said, with shipments dropping by far more than the global average in the EMEA region.
According to the figures, PC shipments in EMEA totalled 29 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, a near 10% decline from a year previously and the fourth consecutive quarterly decline.
“The PC market remained weak, with seasonal growth lower than normally expected,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
“Western Europe in particular saw weak consumer growth as the austere economic environment squeezed consumer spend on PCs. By contrast, the Middle East and Africa and some of the Central and Eastern Europe regions saw a positive quarter, so we are starting to see diverging PC growth trends compared to Western Europe.”