Notebook Shipment Estimation


Given the ballpark yearly volume of about 200 million units for the notebook market, estimated worldwide shipment of 238 million units in 2021 outperforming 2020 by 19% is a rarely seen booming record for laptop. According to DIGITIMES Research’s survey, notebook shipments reached 57.5 million units in first quarter of 2021, and 60 million units in the second quarter, and they will arrive at 62 million units in the third quarter, but will relapse to 58.1 million units in the final quarter.

Inferring from market feedback and past experience, we estimate that peak annual shipments should fall within the September-October timeframe, but most of the shipments should come in September with third-quarter 2021 shipments exceeding 62 million units. The notebook market is more promising than the desktop market, thanks to surging demand spurred by hybrid working.

These estimates and messages are based on Taiwanese companies’ first-hand information. Consulting companies based on the US east coast Western Europe may excel in global and long-term trend analysis, but they cannot readily perceive and monitor the fast changes in the supply chain. For instance, in the second quarter of 2021, stagnant supply occurred due to a massive marine traffic jam, and some manufacturers even switched to air freight. But starting the third quarter, the pressure on goods delivery should be lessened. Although the overbooking practice has not been entirely eradicated, the supply chain of the notebook industry should revert to a relative normality.

Among the iconic brands, delivery of HP’s and Lenovo’s educational computer shipments are coming to an end, and considering the shortage of parts has not adequately eased, demand and supply should stay near equilibrium in the third quarter. As for Apple, most products are hanlded by dedicated production lines, and the materials’ readiness and availability are different from situations at other vendors. Apple is seeing the least impact from supply chain disruptions and it is estimated to see a growth of between 4 % and 5 % in the third quarter.

Of all the major brands, Taiwan’s Acer and Asus are both gaining ground and capitalizing on their home advantage which enables them to have better communication with component suppliers. It is estimated that in the third quarter they will see sequential growth of 6-9% in notebook shipments.

As to the other sizable players, it is noteworthy that Samsung and LG seem to be seeing a revival for their notebooks. Samsung delivered 350 million notebooks in 2020, and its 2021 notebook shipments may reach as many as 700 million units, possibly thanks to self-sufficient supply of memory chips. LG, with annual sales of only one million units and a focus solely on the South Korean and US markets, is also keen to expand their presence in the booming notebook market. An imbalance in supply-demand is giving the PC industry of South Korea a chance to make a comeback.

The overbooking situation is showing that everyone is concerned about the lingering supply-demand imbalance, and is placing excessive orders – usually by 10-20% more than the components needed to support their production. The supply-demand status varies from component to component. A researcher named Jim Hsiao selected 24 categories of components to illustrate the different levels of supply-demand imbalance. Research results can now be easily presented in attractive formats online, unlikely those in the past that had to be presented in print-outs.

Times have changed and how can we get stuck in a rut?

Reference: DigiTimesAsia