Apple Mac sales back above 10 percent -- after 20 years

As PC sales decline in the United States, Apple's sales take off -- but the story is different elsewhere in the world

New data from Gartner and IDC show that sales of Macs in the United States have crossed the 10 percent threshold -- which hasn't happened since 1991, when Macs accounted for 11.2 percent of all U.S. PC sales. In the second quarter of 2011 (April through June), IDC reports that Macs accounted for 10.7 percent of PC sales -- up from 9 percent a year earlier -- making Apple the third-largest seller of PCs after Hewlett-Packard (26.3 percent) and Dell (22.2 percent). Gartner's figures also put the Mac market share at 10.7 percent and had Apple moving into the third-highest sales slot.

In fact, as U.S. PC sales declined 4.2 percent (according to IDC) or 5.6 percent (according to Gartner), Mac sales shot up more than any other PC line. "Apple's performance far exceed the industry average, partly driven by an iMac refreshment that attracted both consumers and buyers in the education sector," Gartner said in a statement.

The high Mac sales figures comes on the heels of a report from Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry showing that one-third of big businesses now offer employees the option of a Mac, and that most employees offered the choice select a Mac rather than a Windows PC.

The decline in overall U.S. PC sales is due to three factors, says, Jay Chou, an IDC senior research analyst: a collapse of netbook sales, an unusually high sales figure for the previous year as businesses and individuals stopped deferring purchases as the recession eased, and the diversion of sales from PCs to tablets such as the iPad. (The IDC and Gartner PC sales figures do not include tablets.)

For most of its history, the Mac has hovered in the 6 percent sales range, though it hit a nadir of about 2 percent in the tumultuous period of the early and mid-2000s. During this time, Apple struggled to reinvent itself as a media company (with the iPod and iTunes) after its period of infighting in the late 1990s drove many customers to the then new Windows XP.

But Mac fans should take heed that Apple's dramatic increase in U.S. PC sales is not being replicated elsewhere in the world. In no other region does Apple show up in the Top 10 list of PC makers, nor break the 5 percent threshold.

This story, "Apple Mac sales back above 10 percent, after 20 years," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.


Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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