Worldwide notebook shipments are estimated to reach 41.65 million units in the fourth quarter, up 6.4% sequentially as demand from the year-end holidays is expected to pick up strongly, while Apple's fourth-generation MacBook Pro products have entered mass production, helping related upstream supply return to a stable balance. Although Chromebooks and China-based brand vendors are expected to perform weakly in the quarter, their negative influences will only have a minor impact. The quarter will also see the industry enjoy its first on-year growth after eight consecutive quarters of decline.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) will remain the largest notebook vendor in the fourth quarter, while its shipment gap with Lenovo will continue to widen as the China-based vendor is seriously impacted by high channel inventory and business reorganization, according to Digitimes Research's latest notebook report.
Dell has shifted some of its resources to push the consumer notebook sector for the fourth quarter. This will allow the company to achieve growth in the quarter despite the enterprise sector's weakening demand. Apple's new notebook products have seen some negative feedback in design and price, but their major hardware upgrades and new Touch Bar design are still expected to attract many users to replace their old Apple systems. With the shipment growth, Apple is expected to return as the fourth largest vendor worldwide in the fourth quarter.
Combined shipments of US-based top-tier vendors - HP, Dell and Apple - will also account for over 50% of worldwide shipments. Asustek Computer will become the fifth largest and its gap with the sixth largest Acer will widen as Acer has turned conservative about its shipments, looking to maintain its high gross margins.
As for Taiwan-based ODMs, Quanta Computer will enjoy strong orders from Apple for the fourth quarter, but falling orders from its other clients had limited its growth. Compal Electronics will achieve a growth at a level similar to that of the overall shipments. Pegatron Technology, largest manufacturing partner of Asustek, will perform the best among the ODMs in the fourth quarter.