The netbook phenomenon may be close to reaching its peak, Gartner has suggested.
According to the analyst, the form factor’s share of the total mobile PC market is set to shrink from 18.6 per cent in 2010 to 13.9 per cent by 2014.
The market for netbooks - or mini notebooks as Gartner classifies them - has exploded from zero to a predicted figure for 2010 of 41.8 million units in three years.
Although shipments are still on the rise, Gartner hinted the form factor may have had its day as consumers become less price sensitive and alternatives emerge.
Raphael Vasquez, research analyst at Gartner, said: “The mini-notebook segment will be affected by increasingly competitive ultralow-voltage (ULV) products, the decreasing prices of all mobile PCs and the maturing preferences of consumers.
“Some consumers purchased mini-notebooks based solely on price. Many consumers are now choosing purchases up the price curve rather than at the bottom of it.”
Meanwhile, Gartner gave a rosy outlook for the overall PC market, predicting unit shipments will spike 22 per cent to 308.3 million this year on the back of corporate refresh activity and Windows 7.
Professional PC shipments are forecast to grow by 13.1 per cent.
Ranjit Atwal, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: “In the professional PC market, the aging life of PCs will drive replacements. Organisations will find it tougher to further extend PC life cycles without incurring more costs.
“This, together with the adoption of Windows 7, will generate robust demand in the professional market. Larger businesses expect to start replacements in the second half of 2010, with the majority replaced in 2011. We now expect Windows 7 migration to last through 2012.”
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