Samsung on the way to becoming a mobile PC giant

7 Jul 2010

Boosted by the success of its netbook products, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in the first quarter dramatically outperformed the mobile computer market, allowing it to rise to seventh place in the notebook PC business, up from ninth in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to iSuppli Corp.

Samsung in the first quarter shipped 1.9 million mobile PCs, up 14.6pc from 1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.

This contrasted dramatically with the performance of the overall notebook PC market, with shipments in the first quarter declining by 5.4pc sequentially due to normal seasonal factors. The company in the first quarter held a 3.9pc share of global notebook PC shipments, up from 3.2pc in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Samsung’s shipment performance

Samsung posted the second-best sequential shipment performance among the Top 10 notebook PC makers in the first quarter, next only to Fujitsu Ltd., which had the biggest quarterly increase at 17.6pc but placed 10th overall in the rankings.

“About 50pc of Samsung’s mobile PC shipments in the first quarter were netbooks,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms for iSuppli.

“Samsung’s netbooks are enjoying strong sales to European telecommunications operators, as European consumers in the first quarter continued to snap up netbook PCs bundled with mobile broadband contracts.”

Samsung also now is selling mobile PCs in the United States, opening up a huge new market opportunity for the South Korean electronics giant, Wilkins added.

Samsung vs Sony and Apple

In its rise up to the No 7 rank in the first quarter, Samsung displaced Apple Inc. and Sony Corp. from the seventh and eighth spots they held in the fourth quarter. However, Apple and Samsung remain very close in the rankings, with only 130,000 units separating the two companies.

Samsung in the first quarter of 2010 also outperformed the mobile PC market compared to the same period in 2009. The company’s notebook shipments nearly doubled from 985,000 in the first quarter of 2009, rising by 95.5pc. In contrast, total global mobile PC shipments rose by a much more modest — but still incredibly robust — 42.4pc in the first quarter compared to a year earlier.

“Corporate and consumer demand for notebook PCs remains strong, as user preferences continue to shift away from desktops and toward mobile computers,” Wilkins said.

“Notebook shipments in the first quarter hit their second-highest quarterly level since iSuppli began tracking the market.

The near record-setting growth in the first quarter presages what is expected to be a strong 2010 for the notebook PC market.

iSuppli in the second quarter raised its 2010 forecast of notebook PC unit shipment growth to 29.8pc, up from its first-quarter outlook of a 25.5pc expansion for the year.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years