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Global Wide Aspect Notebook PC Shipments Hit Record 79%
Nov 21, 2006
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DisplaySearch, a display market research and consulting company, reports that wide aspect notebook PC shipments in the third quarter of 2006 had a 79 percent share, with standard 4:3 ratio having only a 21 percent share. There are significant regional variations, however. North America's wide aspect penetration was over 85 percent, but in Japan it was merely 52 percent, according to the latest Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report.

The primary reason for the regional disparity in shipments of standard and wide is a lingering preference in the Japanese market for 1024 × 768 (XGA), 1400 × 1050 (SXGA+), and 1600 × 1200 (UXGA) resolution notebook PCs, especially at 15 inches. Although Japan accounted for less than 10 percent of worldwide notebook PC share in the third quarter of 2006, it accounted for more than a 21 percent share of worldwide standard aspect ratio notebook shipments. By contrast, North America, which had 40 percent share of the worldwide notebook market, had approximately 25 percent share of the world's standard aspect ratio notebooks.

DisplaySearch analysis indicates that these regional differences in the penetration of wide-aspect notebooks will not last much longer, as panel makers are actively scaling back output of standard aspect notebook PC panels after three quarters of poor financial results, and where possible, exiting these markets entirely due to better efficiencies and cost structure for wide panels. As volumes and the supply base for standard panels continues to decline, prices that are currently at relative parity with comparable wide-aspect panels will begin to command a premium as they become niche products and fewer suppliers are available.

Regional differences also exist in panel size preferences with EMEA preferring larger notebook PC screen sizes, and APAC and Japan customers preferring smaller screen sizes. In EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), 58 percent of notebook volume is for products that are 15.4 inches or larger. In the APAC (Asia Pacific) and Japan regions, this segment is less than 40 percent of the volume. In Greater China and Latin America, 14.x inch products are the dominant form factor, accounting for more than 40 percent of these regions’ shipments in the third quarter of 2006.

Additionally, brands have seen varying degrees of success with wide and standard aspect products. Lenovo's ThinkPad brand, long a staple of the enterprise market, was the last major notebook PC brand to begin shipping wide aspect products. Among the top five notebook PC brands (HP, Dell, Acer, Toshiba, and Lenovo), the share of wide and standard aspect models shipped varied widely in the third quarter of 2006: Lenovo shipped 13 percent wide aspect, HP shipments were 76 percent wide aspect, and almost all of Acer's notebook PCs were wide (98 percent).

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