TAIWAN: The new touch NB carrying Windows 8 hit the market with luster in Q4 last year, but its elevated price and Windows 8 user interface were hard to attract consumers.
The penetration rate of the touch-related products accounted for only 6.3 percent of the global NB shipment in Q1, which is projected to reach only 8.7 percent in Q2 with more new models joining in, the combined H1’13 penetration rate is around 7.5 percent, and the overall performance is relatively dim.
According to WitsView, the display research division of the global market intelligence provider TrendFroce, operating system developers, touches module makers, and brands continue to modify strategies in an effort to accelerate the popularization of touch NBs. The development of touch NBs in H2’13 turns heating up, and the average penetration rate is likely to more than double to 15 percent.
According to WitsView’s research director Eric Chiou, Microsoft’s recent SST (Small Screen Touch) promotion program, providing the 11.6”-and-under products using Windows 8 with a $ 30 rebate which directly helps NB brands to compensate the costs arisen from the touch modules. The move stimulates brands to launch the entry-level 11.6” touch NBs priced only at $400-450, which not only lifts the touch NB penetration rate, but lowers the threshold for consumers to use the touch function on the NBs.
When it comes to touch module makers’ influences, they are mostly focusing on two aspects, the capacity supply and the price cut. In an attempt to attack the touch NB market, not only the industry leaders, such as TPK, inject the new G4.5 and G5.5 capacities, but panel makers enter the field with their advantages on capacities and total solution products.
The surge in touch module capacity eases the OGS short supply issue for NBs, while panel makers joining in the competition presses down the OGS prices indirectly.. Generally speaking, the softening short supply issue and the dropping touch costs are both beneficial to the touch NB promotion.
The 2013 NB shipment is projected to be 175.4 million units, dropping 5 percent from 2012. Chiou indicates that NB carrying the touch function injects freshness to the mature product on top of providing the hardware spec, furthermore, the touch NB is viewed on one hand to shoulder the responsibility to stir the demand and on the other hand as the fort to conquer for brands. In addition to Asus, Acer, and Sony who have been actively cultivating in the segment for a long time, brands including Lenovo and HP also unveil plenty of products to fight back.
Taking the 14.0” and the 15.6” for example, which account for more than 70 percent of the market, there should be many high-quality-and-inexpensive choices in the $600 range for consumers.
Subjectively speaking, the touch NB has large room for improvement on supply chain, costs, and design, and the high penetration rate is hard to reach in the short term. However, WitsView says that, with the positive stimulants such as the launch of the new platform Haswell, the implementation of subsidy program, the cut in key component prices and the repositioning of product’s selling price, the market atmosphere may turn from cold in the first half of this year to warm in the second half.
The fact that gloom comes first and prosperity follows is the best description for the touch NB segmentation with a penetration rate forecast of 11.8 percent for the entire year.