Global shipments of notebooks continued to increase sequentially in the first and second quarter of 2019, primarily due to brand vendors building up additional inventory in anticipation of the 25% import tariff for Chinese products. According to a DigiTimes report, the high amount of orders and build-up of inventory in the second quarter, as well as Intel’s CPU shortages, will negatively impact notebook shipments in Q3 and Q4 of this year.
The report said that Intel isn’t expected to ramp up capacity until September at the earliest, which should negatively impact notebook shipments. Furthermore, most notebook vendors have yet to switch to AMD’s CPUs, potentially both because they consider AMD’s products to be unproven in the marketplace (not necessarily from a technical point of view, but a marketing one), as well as because they may want to wait for the Zen 2-based Ryzen 4000 Mobile processors to appear early next year (AMD’s mobile APUs tend to launch a year later compared to the desktop CPUs).
According to the DigiTimes report, the notebook buyers also blame China’s weak economy and enterprises not being impressed enough by recent CPU innovations to warrant a replacement of their workers’ notebooks.
However, it’s possible many of these companies may not be taking into account the security impact new speculative execution attacks may have against many notebooks that haven’t had their BIOS updated with the patches, or the loss of performance those patches may bring. With major data breaches happening every other week or so, the fact that large company leaders don’t prioritize security is hardly a shocking revelation, though.
Some of the largest vendors of notebooks won’t see their shipments decline as much as the rest of industry players. Both HP and Lenovo are expected to see notebook shipments growth for the rest of the year, although HP’s shipments are expected to peak in the fourth quarter. Dell and Apple are both expected to see weak demand for the rest of the year.
Lacking a change in the global economic and trade situation, as well as major innovations in the industry or a major reduction in prices, notebook vendors are likely to go through a tougher time over the next at least several quarters.