Ultrabook Sales Jump Out to a "Fast Start," NPD Group Says

In the beginning, some questioned whether or not Intel's Ultrabook initiative would catch on. And now? There's little doubt that Ultrabooks are the wave of the future. Market research firm NPD Group says "Ultrabook sales are off to a fast start" so far in 2012, snagging 11 percent of all $700+ Windows-based notebook sales in the U.S.

"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."

That's pretty impressive when you consider that Ultrabooks are mostly competing at premium price levels, with the average selling price settling at $927 for the five months of 2012. That means Ultrabooks are successful in attracting mainstream buyers who could have otherwise spent much less on a traditional laptop. For the market to continue to grow, however, prices need to drop.

"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."

Do you see yourself purchasing an Ultrabook once Windows 8 ships?