Acer Finds Solution to Slow Sales: More Subnotebooks

One factor that has slowed down Acer's orders is the drop in demand for work-from-home systems, as well as supply chain glitches faced by other PC manufacturers. However, Acer has found a way to counter this, by building more models of its sub[...]

   Acer's Jerry Kao holds a laptop in his company's suburban Taipei showroom on June 24, 2022. 
  Ralph Jennings
Acer CEO Jerry Kao held a laptop in his company's suburban Taipei showroom on June 24, 2022.

The demand for computers has slowed as the number of people working from home has decreased, and computer manufacturers are facing supply chain difficulties.

Acer's co-chief operating officer, Jerry Kao, says that the company is working on a solution. The solution will help the company to improve its environmental credentials by selling notebooks made from recycled materials and which are easier to repair.

The drop in demand for Acer’s PCs became clear following the company's

In an interview, Kao said that the demand for PCs is down in all segments right now. The second quarter suddenly changed, and many issues occurred—the war issue, the infection issues. All PC makers are still struggling. Upstream components have come late because they were sourced in eastern China; earlier lockdowns hit Shenzhen and Shanghai, two major commercial hubs.

In 2020 and 2021, when home-bound consumers bought laptops to telework and do online schooling, there was a sudden increase in demand for PCs across the industry.

Shipments of traditional PCs declined 5.1% in the first quarter, according to market research firm IDC. The sector was "coming off two years of double-digit growth," according to the firm, which said vendors shipped more than 80 million PCs in the first three months of the year because of war in Ukraine that has

Acer was able to withstand the global supply chain issues earlier this year as much of its production takes place in the western Chinese city Chongqing, which avoided the severity of blockades in Shenzhen and Shanghai, Kao says.

According to data from IDC, the Taiwanese company that is based in a suburb of Taipei was ranked fifth in the global PC market share in the first quarter. Lenovo was first, followed by HP, Dell and Apple. Acer's financial troubles came about due to management changes amid an increasingly competitive market a decade ago. The company has managed to stage a comeback largely through its designs of Chromebooks and gaming PCs.

Acer launched its eco-friendly Aspire Vero line last year in an effort to gain a "somewhat better" position against competitors who are making similar PC models, Kao states.

Acer said that Vero laptops use post-consumer recycled materials in their casing and keycaps. As much as 85% of the packaging is recycled paper. The series started with three notebooks, all-in-ones, and peripherals such as keyboards. The PCs are easy to disassemble and repair, so they can be fixed rather than thrown out in favor of new ones; Kao says. Vero models are sold online for $600 or more

"If you want something unique," Kao says, "we'll pop out. We spend most of our efforts now highlighting those competitive advantages that others don't have."