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Notebook vendors adopting different approaches to counter lackluster PC sales
Source: DIGITIMES   Editor: Helan   Update Time :2017/8/8 16:49:35

Heavyweight notebook vendors Lenovo, HP and Apple are taking different approaches to counter lackluster PC sales in the global markets, with the former two adopting lower-pricing strategies to capture higher market shares and Apple highlighting product lines with better profitability, according to market sources.

The sources said that notebook sales still managed to perform better in the first half of 2017 than market expectations due mainly to the lack of other electronic devices that could better meet consumers' working and learning needs than notebooks.

An earlier IDC report showed that the global PC sales were witnessing the first positive annual growth in five years in April 2017, though the growth was merely 0.6%. Digitimes Research also estimated global notebook shipments will score an annual growth of 4.97% in 2017, ending a recession lasting almost five years.

Nevertheless, market observers said that while global notebook sales are unlikely to decline as sharply as in the past few years, chances are even slimmer for shipments to resume rapid growth as enjoyed in the past two to three decades.

Lenovo, HP prefer pricing strategy

While actively moving to develop devices with more market potentials, Lenovo and HP are engaged in a price war to vice for the crown in the global notebook market. The strategy, though pushing up shipments, has undermined their profitability, observers said.

Lenovo, for instance, saw shipments of PCs and smart devices inch up 1% to 14.4 million units in the first three months of 2017, with their revenues surging 4.9% on year to US$6.7 billion for the quarter, all better than average market performances. But pre-tax earnings for the quarter slipped 4.7% on year to US$288 million.

In contrast, Apple has focused more efforts on enhancing the value of higher-end models than on boosting sales volumes of lower-priced ones. In this regard, it is moving to upgrade hardware systems for 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro and seems to be planning to phase out the 11-inch MacBook Air series.

Apple introducing new designs into higher-price models

Apple is actively introducing new design concepts into MacBook and MacBook Pro, equipped them with newly designed bearings, battery modules, heat dissipation devices and keyboards. In addition, Type-C interfaces have been adopted to replace USB3.0 ports and SD card slots.

Though some consumers doubt the justification of Apple's practice of changing the peripheral interfaces of its notebooks to hike sales prices, Apple CEO Tim Cook has pointed out that Mac shipments to China and Japan hit new quarterly highs in the second quarter of 2017, with sales mainly bolstered by new MacBook Pro and iMac models.

Apple's financial statements showed that its Mac series recorded shipments of 4.292 million units in the second quarter of 2017, up 2.21% on quarter and 0.94% on year. Aggregate shipments for the first half of the year reached 8.491 million units, up 2.47% from 8.286 million units seen a year earlier. The same tallies indicated that Mac series shipments in the second quarter of 2017 edged up only 0.94% from a year earlier, but their corresponding revenues posted a significant growth of 6.74% from a year earlier.

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