Notebook ODMs including Compal Electronics and Inventec saw better-than-expected shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017, but volumes in the first quarter of 2018 are expected to slip 10-15% sequentially due to seasonality.
Compal shipped 3.3 million PCs in December, down from November's 3.8 million units, while consolidated revenues for the month also went down over 20% from a month ago as most of its orders for the year-end holidays were already delivered prior to December.
Compal originally expected its fourth-quarter-2017 PC shipments to decrease sequentially, but the company ended up shipping 10.4 million units in the quarter, flat from the third quarter.
Some market watchers pointed out that PC demand was better than expected in 2017 with growths mainly coming from the second half. With demand for tablets - originally expected to cannibalize PCs - falling dramatically in 2017, smartphone shipment growths weakening and the gaming market seeing rising sales, PCs were able to avoid from a serious shipment drop in the year.
In addition to PCs, Compal's orders for the iPad and the Apple Watch as well as Amazon's and Microsoft's smart speakers also contributed o the ODM's on-year revenue growth of 15.76% in 2017, the market watchers noted.
For 2018, Compal president Ray Chen previously said that the overall PC shipments will remain flat, but Compal will continue enjoying a single-digit percentage growth. The company will see an even stronger shipment growth in its smart mobile device businesses. IoT product shipments will double, tablet shipments will rise stably, but smartphone shipments will stay flat.
Meanwhile, Inventec shipped 4.7 million PCs in the fourth quarter 2017, up from third-quarter's 1.6 million units.