Acer sold more netbooks than Asus last quarter

Despite jump starting the consumer netbook fad practically by itself last year, Asus lost the top spot in netbook sales chart last quarter, according to DisplaySearch. The market research firm says Acer is now the biggest netbook vendor, with 2.15 million Q3 shipments and a meaty 38.3% market share. Asus only shipped 1.7 million units over the same time period, giving it a 30.3% share.

Somewhat surprisingly, other firms’ Eee PC competitors don’t seem to have been anywhere near as popular. MSI and HP both had less than 6% of the netbook market in Q3, while Dell got a paltry 2.8%. Of course, Dell’s Inspiron Mini 9 didn’t come out until September, and HP only recently introduced an explicitly customer-focused (and Intel Atom-powered) netbook.

The netbook market as a whole is growing prodigiously, though. DisplaySearch predicts that netbook shipments will rise from a million units in 2007 to 14 million by the end of this year, and it says third-quarter growth alone added up to “more than 160 percent.”

Asus’ strong netbook sales also allowed it to make considerable headway in global laptop sales charts. Thanks to 189% year-over-year growth, Asus had roughly the same 8.6% market share as Toshiba last quarter, and it became the world’s fifth-biggest laptop vendor. Acer remains number two behind HP, DisplaySearch says.

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