“The global notebook market is set to bounce back with vigor in 2024, as technological advancements and increasing consumer demand for portable computing devices fuel an exciting resurgence.”
The second quarter of 2023 has shown that notebook inventory channels are displaying healthy levels, according to TrendForce. Both North America and the Asia-Pacific regions are demonstrating a healthy appetite for mid and low-tier consumer models. This restocking is not just a race to replenish inventory, but a strategic move to prepare for the anticipated back-to-school wave in the third quarter.
Interestingly, Google’s announcement of licensing fees coincided with a peak in Chromebook shipments. This surge resulted in a 21.6% increase in notebook shipments in the second quarter, reaching a total of 42.52 million units. However, the overall picture reveals a year-on-year decline of 23.5% in the first half of the year, with a total of 77.5 million units shipped.
Looking ahead to the second half of 2023, TrendForce predicts that growth momentum will be anchored in the purchasing power of end consumers. However, the economic outlook for the two major notebook markets, the US and Europe, remains uncertain, which may dampen the typical seasonal purchasing demand. Additionally, some of this demand has already been met in the second quarter. As a result, 3Q notebook shipments are expected to experience a moderate growth of 3.8%, totaling 44.13 million units. Annual notebook shipments for 2023 are projected to reach 163 million units, marking a year-on-year decline of 12.2%.
Looking further ahead to 2024, the tech horizon looks promising. As market inventories align with healthier metrics and anticipated inflationary pressures begin to stabilize, global notebook shipments are poised for a potential rebound. However, it’s important to note that the global consumer environment is still feeling the impact of the pandemic, and although demand is gradually increasing, the market hasn’t shown strong bullish signs just yet.
In the latter half of the year, the absence of seasonal market activity and subdued demand have not only affected corporate profitability but also posed challenges for budgeting in the upcoming year. Additionally, the rise of AI and the focus on its foundational infrastructure may sideline IT expenditures. While Windows 10 is set to end its support in October 2025, it is expected to trigger a wave of business device upgrades starting in 2024. However, TrendForce believes that the momentum and urgency of this upgrade wave may be delayed and subdued, making significant shipment growth less likely.
In terms of consumer demand, China faces challenges due to a subdued economic and employment environment, casting a somewhat pessimistic view on its market development. In contrast, the US experienced a robust rebound in demand in 2023, but expectations suggest tempered growth in 2024. Europe, after undergoing a two-year demand recalibration, may witness a consumer resurgence in the latter half of the year if the broader economic climate improves. Finally, Southeast Asia, buoyed by a burgeoning consumer segment, forecasts upward-trending shipments, indicating modest growth in consumer-focused devices.
Overall, TrendForce projects an annual growth rate between 2-5% for 2024, pushing notebook shipments slightly above pre-pandemic levels. Post inventory adjustments, the broader market is set for a gentle recovery. However, all eyes remain on China and the US, the twin giants of consumer markets, to gauge if a more robust shipment surge can be expected.