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Monday, October 01, 2012
High Prices Keep Ultrabook Sales Low This Year

Ultrabook sales are falling short of expectations amid high pricing and lack of effective marketing, market research firm IHS iSuppli said today.

IHS estimates that 10.3 million Ultrabooks will ship this year, down from a previous forecast of 22 million.

Ultrabooks have failed to achieve widespread popularity largely because of their price, which often hovers around $1,000.

In April, Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini predicted that Ultrabooks would soon hit mainstream price points as low as $699. But even that price point may be too high for widespread adoption amid a flood of other promising mobile computing devices like media tablets.

IHS also reduced its forecast for 2013 Ultrabook shipments. The firm now expects shipments to rise to 44 million next year - more than quadruple the 2012 forecast, but down from an earlier forecast of 61 million.

IHS added the slow start by Ultrabooks can be overcome. The research firm projects shipments to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, exceeding 95 million units by 2016.

IHS said more Ultrabooks need to get below the $600 price range in order to hit the volume level needed to enter the mainstream. If Ultrabooks using the new Windows 8 operating system come close to the $600 to $700 range next year, while adding in an attractive new consumer feature such as touchscreen, chances for strong sales in 2013 are good. But if Ultrabooks stay at the $1,000 level, their sales will continue to struggle in 2013 amid competition from lower-priced options, such as tablets and smartphones, IHS said.

Another factor cited by IHS for its Ultrabook forecast cut is the re-categorizing of many notebooks amid Intel's increasingly stringent set of definitions for Ultrabooks. Many notebooks once called ultrabooks now are being now classified as "ultrathins," the firm said.

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