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NPD: Ultrabooks are saving the high-end notebook market

For people who want super-thin computers and who don’t feel like paying more than $2,000 for a Retina MacBook Pro, ultrabooks are a blessing. And according to the NPD Group, ultrabooks are helping to keep the U.S. notebook market afloat as they “are off to a fast start capturing nearly 11 percent of all $700+ Windows notebooks sales at U.S. retail through the first five months of 2012.” What’s more, ultrabooks’ share of Windows notebooks costing at least $700 has steadily climbed month by month this year, going from just over 6% in January to more than 15% in May. NPD says strong ultrabook sales are welcome news for the Windows notebook industry, which has seen overall sales of laptops costing $700 or more fall 3% through the first five months of 2012. Full press release after the jump.

Ultrabook Propels Growth in Higher Price Point Notebooks as Overall Market Struggles

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, JUNE 28, 2012 – Ultrabook sales are off to a fast start capturing nearly 11 percent of all $700+ Windows notebooks sales at U.S. retail through the first five months of 2012 according to leading market research company The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service.  While the overall Windows market for notebook PC sales fell by 17 percent, Ultrabooks helped propel the premium market with Windows notebooks priced over $700 falling by just 3 percent, and those priced over $900 increasing 39 percent versus the prior year.

“Ultrabooks have helped establish a market for more premium-priced Windows notebooks at retail,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at The NPD Group. “The share of sales that the $700+ notebook segment represents jumped from about 12 percent in 2011 to nearly 14 percent in 2012 as a result of the solid market acceptance Ultrabooks have gained.  Consumers continue to respond positively to finally being offered stylish, thinner, and more premium device offerings than ever before within the Windows ecosystem.”

This strong performance comes as Utrabook ASPs remain considerably more expensive than the market, with selling prices that averaged $927 over the first five months of 2012 and only dipping below $900, to $885, for the first time in May. While this is considerably above the Windows market price of $510 average pricing has risen by $13 since the same period in 2011, in part due to the growth in Ultrabook sales.

“As we head into the crucial back-to-school selling season, lower-cost Ultrabooks, some as low as $699, will be the hot form factor,” said Baker.  “As we look towards the fourth quarter, the expected launch of Windows 8, a wide variety of Ultrabooks with touch screens, and convertible form factors should continue to make this class of product top of mind with the consumer as well as provide a much needed revenue boost to the entire PC ecosystem.”

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.