Netbooks continued to grow in popularity in the first quarter of 2009, and now represent nearly 20 per cent of the worldwide laptop market, according to new figures from market research firm DisplaySearch.
The Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report found that Acer led the mini-laptop category with a market share of 30.5 per cent, shipping twice as many as its nearest rival, Asus.
HP continued to dominate the overall notebook PC category, improving its market share to 24.1 per cent with 7.3 million units shipped.
Netbooks were most popular in Europe and Latin America, while penetration was lowest in China, Japan and North America.
EMEA accounted for 38 per cent of the total notebook market, compared to less than 30 per cent in North America. EMEA was also responsible for 45 per cent of all netbook shipments during the quarter.
The large increase in netbook take-up in EMEA could be due to telecoms providers offering free or heavily discounted devices with data plans, according to DisplaySearch.
Report author John Jacobs argued that, without the additional volume coming from netbooks, the total laptop market could have dropped 19 per cent year-on-year instead of just three per cent.
"It is clear at the moment that mini-notebooks play a vital role in the total PC market," Jacobs said. "While there is no doubt that many buyers of mini-notes would have chosen larger notebook PCs if mini-notes were not available, it is also certain that many buyers might have chosen not to purchase a notebook PC at all."
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