Research from the NPD Group claims that Windows notebook sales were down overall in the first five months of 2012, while sales of just Ultrabooks have risen steadily.

Ultrabooks are relatively powerful, thin and light notebooks introduced by Intel in 2011 that often incorporate tablet features, such as touch screens.

NPD claims Ultrabook sales are up to 11 percent of all sales of Windows notebooks that are $700 and up.

The overall market for Windows notebook computers fell 17 percent, but notebooks more than $700 only fell by 3 percent, and those just over $900 actually increased by 39 percent over last year.

That's thanks, NPD says, to sales from premium-priced Ultrabooks.

"Ultrabooks have helped establish a market for more premium-priced Windows notebooks at retail," said NPD's Vice President of Industry Analysis Stephen Baker in a press release.

"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," he continued.

"Consumers continue to respond positively to finally being offered stylish, thinner, and more premium device offerings than ever before within the Windows ecosystem."

Windows 8, back-to-school should provide boost

NPD predicts that the introduction of Windows 8 and the impending back-to-school shopping surge at the end of the summer will provide a much-needed boost to sales of Windows notebooks.

"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," Baker said in the report.

"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."

NPD also blames Ultrabooks for causing the overall average price of Windows notebooks to rise by $13 year-on-year since 2011.

Via Engadget