Notebook shipments (excluding detachable models) by the top-five vendors as well as top-three ODMs suffered a sequential decline of 25% and 19%, respectively, in January due to a high level of inventory at channels which resulted mainly from excess shipments of consumer models by Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lenovo in the November-December period, according to Digitimes Research.
HP and Lenovo saw their notebook shipments plunged 45% and 30% on-month, respectively, in January, while other brands managed to control the sequential decline rates within 10%.
Among the top-three ODMs, Compal Electronics suffered a significant drop in shipments in January as a major portion of its orders were coming from HP and Lenovo, said Digitimes Research.
While vendors were ramping entry-level consumer models in the fourth quarter of 2014, shipments of Chromebooks in the quarter were down more than 20% from the previous quarter. This may have been the result of competition coming from shipments of more models under Microsoft's low-cost strategy, or of a declining momentum of Chromebooks themselves. Shipments of Chromebooks by Acer and Samsung Electronics, mainly to the education segment, slid substantially in the fourth quarter.
Microsoft is expected to continue to resort to a low-licensing fee policy to ward off competition from Chromebooks in 2015, but the package deals for Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 will be different in the third quarter. Low-cost Windows 10-based models will still be limited at 14-inch models without the use of HDDs for main storage, but will not be confined only to the sub-US$249 segment.