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Higher Demand for Chromebooks and Low-Cost PCs

According to the latest worldwide market study by DisplaySearch, in the third quarter of this year, the global notebook personal computer (PC) market grew 10 percent year-over-year, to reach 49.4 million units. Once again, market demand increased for lower-cost devices.

That said, global shipments of media tablets, by comparison, actually fell by 8 percent. Given the choice between a full-featured low-cost notebook PC and an equivalent tablet, more people will buy based upon their use case -- rather than being influenced more by price and value.

Notebook PC growth was primarily driven by the developed regions of North America and Western Europe, which increased year-over-year shipments by more than 20 percent in the third quarter.

"The slump in tablet PC demand contributed to the growth in notebook PCs," said Hisakazu Torii, vice president of smart application research at DisplaySearch, now part of IHS.

Back-to-school sales were quite good, and this growth was supported by low-priced, Microsoft Windows-based notebook PCs and Google Chromebooks.

Chromebook sales were especially strong in the United States -- particularly in the commercial and education markets, due to easier IT management and volume-discount offers.

Chromebooks are forecast to reach 5 percent (8 million units) of total global notebook PC shipments by the end of this year. However, if 2015 demand reaches the 20 million units planned by PC brands and OEMs, it is possible that the Chromebook share would rise to 12 percent.

"Early Black Friday newspaper advertisements show some Windows-based notebook PCs and Chromebooks priced under $200," Torii said.

The top five notebook PC brands collectively grew 23 percent in the third quarter of 2014, reaching 69 percent of total notebook units shipped. With strong sales in North America and Western Europe, the Lenovo Group and HP continued to lead the market, with shares of 20 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

Lenovo Group led unit share in Western Europe and China, while HP took the leading position in North America, Eastern Europe and rest of the world. Year-over-year shipments of Apple’s iPad declined 13 percent, although Apple still ranked fifth globally, mainly due to increasing market share in North America.

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