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Acer, Asus notebook shipments to level out in '14 as demand falls

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With demand for notebooks expected to stabilize in 2014, and with foreign companies expected to leave the market, experts forecast that notebook shipments from domestic computer makers Acer and Asus will level out this year compared to last year.

According to DIGITIMES Research, global laptop shipment totaled 170 million units in 2013, which represented a drop of 13 percent. DIGITIMES pointed out that as demand for tablets grows and consumers become less attracted to notebooks, foreign computer makers will put less emphasis on their notebook development. Notebook shipment is expected to decline 6.6 percent in 2014 from a year ago, with a total shipment of 159 million.

HP, Toshiba and Samsung will be more conservative in their notebook development efforts. As Apple makes adjustment to its product lines, the company's notebook market share is also expected to see significant decline, according to DIGITIMES's research.

According to DisplaySearch, the 2014 shipment estimate for the top-nine notebook vendors, which includes Apple, Asustek Computer, HP, Lenovo, Samsung Electronics, Sony and Toshiba, is 134 million units, lower than the previous estimate of 152 million. DisplaySearch said that notebook shipments may decline again in 2014, as they did in 2013.

Notebook shipments of Taiwanese PC makers Asus and Acer declined in 2013. But DIGITIMES pointed out that both companies will maintain stable market shares.

Laptop, Tablet Combo Product

DIGITIMES Research said that PC companies will follow design concepts applied in 2013 to roll out this year's new products, such as notebook with touch panels, the market penetration of which is expected to grow from 8.2 percent to 16.5 percent. In addition, PC makers are expected to roll out more notebook and tablet combo products. Nevertheless, due to the unpopular Windows 8.1 interface and high production costs, the detachable combo product is not expected to provide enough momentum for the notebook market.

According to DIGITIMES, low-priced notebooks with screen sizes between 14 to 15.6 inches, which are expected to sell for US$299, will not be ready before June 2014. The touch penetration rate in 2014 could be less than the previously estimated 15 percent.

UBS Securities analyst Arthur Hsieh (謝宗文) pointed out that global PC demand is expected to drop 2 percent this year, which is substantially lower than last year. As foreign brands leave the market, domestic PC makers will outperform manufacturing contractors, Hsieh said.

According to Hsieh, PC shipment dropped 10 percent in 2013, while notebook shipment dropped 15 percent. While PC shipment is to decline 2 percent this year, notebook shipment is to decline 5 to 6 percent, Hsieh said.

Hsieh forecast that Asus will perform well and gain market share in 2014, as the company has long positioned itself to operate in the notebook and smartphone markets.

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