Netbooks to top 36 million units sold in 2010

The consumer and enterprise netbook market could surpass 36 million units shipped in 2010, a new market research report from Techaisle now claims.

Techaisle believes netbooks are seeing success and will continue to gain new consumers, but only as part of a niche group of shoppers.  Manufacturers are expected to continue launching new netbooks through 2011, but they may also start prioritizing tablet devices instead.

Netbooks to top 36 million units sold in 2010

“We firmly believe the netbook device is developing into an interesting but niche product segment,” said Anurag Agrawal, Techaisle analyst, in a statement, Noting “only those vendors who will quickly understand the boundaries of such niche will truly be able to maximize on the ROI and capitalize on its opportunities.”

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Throughout much of 2009, netbooks remained a popular consumer gadget as consumers sought lighter, smaller alternatives to bulky full-size laptops.  The rise of the Apple iPad alerted consumers to a new product category that they could purchase when looking for portable products.

Analysts are still unsure if the tablet market will cut into the netbook market, even though DisplaySearch indicated tablets would begin to set the groundwork for their lead beginning in 2010.  However, Morgan Stanley analysts released a report indicating tablets sales are expected to overtake netbooks by 2012 — but there could be room in the consumer market for both products.

To help promote netbooks, manufacturers need to include marketing of the simpler features that aren’t available on smartphones.  The ability to use Microsoft Office, video playback, and similar basic features that cannot be easily utilized on phones.

It’s possible netbooks will see future success in emerging markets away from North America and Europe, which could extend their popularity further.  Netbooks can be used by students and businesspeople, while tablets are expected to remain as mainly consumer-based devices.

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