The Top 6 Best-Selling Notebook Brands In Q4 2016

Notebook Leaders

While the PC market overall has been grim, new notebooks developed with the mantra of "thinner, lighter, faster" have been a bright spot. Six notebook vendors were dominant during the fourth quarter of 2016, as measured by sales through major technology distributors. Leading the pack were Lenovo and HP Inc., according to The NPD Group, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm.

NPD Group's DistributorTrack sales database is comprised primarily of U.S. Global Technology Distribution Council members. In the following slides are details on the six top-selling notebook vendors in Q4, based on NPD Group's data.

6. Asus

Taiwan-based Asus saw its position in the notebook market slide a bit during the fourth quarter, in terms of sales through distributors, to 5 percent from 7 percent a year earlier.

Among the company's biggest notebook launches of 2016 was the ZenBook 3, which ranks as one of the thinnest notebooks on the market at just 0.47 of an inch thick. The 12.5-inch notebook also weighs a barely noticeable 2 pounds -- and yet it's also durable (with a body made from aerospace-grade aluminum) and fast (up to an Intel Core i7 processor).

5. Dell

At Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, notebook sales through tech distributors captured a 7 percent market share during the fourth quarter, equal to Dell's share during the same quarter of 2015.

Major notebook launches during the fourth quarter for Dell included the newest edition of the popular XPS 13. The notebook features the seventh generation of Intel's top-of-the-line Core i processors (Kaby Lake), a 13.3-inch display that barely has a bezel on the top and sides, improved battery life and the same thin-and-light profile of the previous version.

Toward the end of the year, Dell also released the Latitude 3379, the company's first foray into the 2-in-1 convertible notebook market.

4. Acer

As far as notebook sales through distributors go, Taiwan-based Acer held steady in the fourth quarter, at 8 percent, the same percentage as one year earlier.

Acer's strongest offerings among tech distributors were two of its Chromebooks -- the R11 C738T and the C740-C4PE 11.6-inch. The company also launched the Acer Aspire S 13 notebook in the U.S. during the second half of 2016, featuring strong battery life, a thickness of just 0.57 of an inch and a choice of speedy Intel Core i processors.

3. Apple

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple just hasn't been able to catch a break in terms of its declining Mac business -- including in terms of sales through distributors. Apple saw its share in the market slip a bit in the fourth quarter, to 8 percent, from 10 percent during the same period a year ago.

Distributor sales were strongest with the MacBook Air -- specifically, with the version featuring fifth-gen Intel Core i5 processors.

New Apple notebooks that came to market in 2016 were an updated version of the MacBook and the new MacBook Pro, which got its first major overhaul in four years in October. The centerpiece innovation of the new version, the Touch Bar, is a touch-sensitive display strip that provides controls that adapt to whatever app is being used. The laptop also received specs upgrades, including updated Intel Core i processors and a thinner/lighter body.

2. HP

Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP enjoyed notebook market share of 28 percent during the fourth quarter, in terms of sales through technology distributors. That put the company roughly on par with its 29 percent market share during the same period of 2015.

Among the most popular notebooks from HP were the Chromebook 11 G5 and Chromebook 14, while the company also brought the more powerful Chromebook 13 to market in the second half of 2016.

Meanwhile, HP generated interest in the market from notebooks such as the EliteBook 1040 G3, which features a 14-inch QHD touch-screen display, a thickness of just 0.65 of an inch and the Sure View integrated PC privacy screen.

1. Lenovo

China-based Lenovo not only managed to keep its top slot among notebook sales through distributors in the fourth quarter, but the company also expanded its share of that market, surging to a 40 percent market share from 30 percent a year earlier.

That growth came on the sales both of affordable notebooks such as the N22 Chromebook and ThinkPad 11e Chromebook, and from premium notebooks, such as the ThinkPad X1 Yoga and ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

In addition, Lenovo in the latter part of 2016 began shipping new notebooks such as the Yoga 910, a convertible touch-screen laptop, featuring seventh-gen Intel Core i7 processors along with a thin-and-light form factor.