Ultrabooks help keep premium notebook market afloat, study says
The emergence of the Ultrabook™ may prove to be the saving grace of the struggling PC industry, as the ultra-thin, lightweight devices are boosting sales of higher priced, premium notebooks, according to a study from the NPD Group.
The research company finds that Ultrabooks accounted for 11 percent of the $700-plus Windows® notebook market in the first half of 2012. Though the overall Windows notebook market declined by 17 percent during this time, Ultrabooks helped keep the $700-plus segment afloat, as it fell just 3 percent.
Notebooks priced at more than $900 actually increased 39 percent compared to 2011, according to the NPD Group.
"The real benefit of the Ultrabook has been addressing the crisis of confidence in the PC market over the past few years," Stephen Baker, NPD Group vice president of industry analysis, writes on the company blog. "For the last five years we have seen the expansion of an almost pathological fear of higher price point notebook SKUs from both PC OEMs and retailers."
Several industry observers have claimed that high price tags may actually be an obstacle for the Ultrabook. While the NPD Group doesn't dispute this, it does show that some users are willing to spend and are excited about a new form factor that offers the mobility they're looking for in a device that's powerful and familiar.