Apple captures 7.4% of US PC market on 31% Mac sales growth

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple took advantage of a rebounding PC market this past holiday shopping season, with the Mac maker's U.S. sales rising 31 percent year-over-year to 1.5 million units. That was good enough to keep its share of the domestic pie above 7 percent, despite an influx of budget netbook PCs that flooded the market.



Apple outpaced the rest of the U.S. PC market, which also grew an impressive 24 percent year-over-year during the fourth quarter (the three-month period ending December), according to preliminary data released Wednesday by market research firm IDC. Apple's sales were enough to keep its placement as the fifth-largest domestic PC maker, behind HP, Dell, Acer and Toshiba, respectively.



In total, Apple sold an estimated 5.6 million computers in the U.S. in during the 2009 calendar year, good for an overall 8 percent share. That's up slightly from the 5.2 million units and 7.9 percent share the Cupertino-based company saw in 2008, representing 8.2 percent year-over-year growth. Apple was the fourth-largest U.S. PC maker in all of 2009.



While Apple is growing, sales data shows that its slice of the market -- as quantified by market research firms like IDC -- is not. That can be attributed to the booming market for low-end netbooks, which sell for a few hundred dollars and earn manufacturers razor-thin profit margins. By comparison, Apple's believed to retain some of the highest margins in the industry, often hovering above 30 percent.



"Low-cost notebooks and mini-notebooks were the biggest contributors to the successful fourth quarter," said David Daoud, research manager with IDC's U.S. Quarterly PC tracker.



Overall PC growth during the fourth quarter was bolstered by the launch of Windows 7, which pushed the industry to a record quarter of 20.7 million units for the three-month period. IDC said that consumer confidence was a key factor in these advances, though business spending has lagged behind and is likely to take some more time to take hold.



"The U.S. market exploded in the 4th quarter driven by a series of factors contributing to the unexpected 24% year-on-year growth," Daoud said. "First is the rubber-band effect and recovery from the year-ago quarter, which suffered from buyer contraction when the economic crisis was confirmed. Then vendors responded with new low price points to stimulate demand and face competition."



Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q09 (Thousands of Units) | Source: IDC



Global sales were also strong, with the market seeing a 15.8 percent yearly gain. Overall, the fourth quarter of 2009 represented the first double-digit growth in PC shipments since the third quarter of 2008, IDC said.



Of the big names, the strongest fourth quarter performance worldwide came from HP, which captured 20.7 percent of the market. It was followed by Acer, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba, respectively. Acer and Dell switched places, with Dell coming in second for the entirety of 2009, while the rest held strong to their previous rankings. Of the top 5, only Dell lost share in the calendar year, dropping 9.4 percent.



"The market has weathered a storm which looks to be behind us," said Jay Chou, research analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "But decreasing margins will soon become even more pertinent as one considers the long term effects of holding market share at the cost of profitability.



"Without an effective strategy to convey a clear usage model and feature set tied to each segment, the market will inevitably continue down the slippery slope of 'good-enough' computing sold to the lowest bidder."



Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q09 (Thousands of Units) | Source: IDC



Apple's modest volume shipments compared to its larger rivals have continually placed the company outside the rankings of the top five global PC makers. Market research firms like IDC therefore fail to report how the Mac maker stacks up against its peers on a global scale.



Gartner



Also Wednesday, IDC rival Gartner released preliminary results for the fourth quarter of calendar year 2009. Gartner also found Apple to be the fifth-largest U.S. PC vendor, with a 7.5 percent share for the three month frame.



Apple shipped an estimated 1.5 million units in the fourth quarter, a 23.3 percent increase from the same period in 2008. But Apple's yearly market share slipped 200 basis points, from 7.7 percent at the end of 2008.



Gartner found overall PC shipments increased 26.5 percent year over year, totaling 19.8 million for the December quarter. The top PC manufacturer was HP, with a 30 percent market share, followed by Dell, Acer and Toshiba, respectively.



"Shipment growth was largely driven by low-priced consumer mobile PCs, both in regular notebooks and mini-notebooks," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst with Gartner. "As economic weakness continued, buyers became extremely price sensitive. Low-priced PCs were good enough for many average consumers."



Acer in particular was driven higher by its sub-$500 netbooks. The company saw a 48.4 increase in U.S. sales, and a 41.5 boost worldwide in the fourth quarter. Gartner noted that the increased share may not, however, be a sustainable business.



"Aggressive promotion by PC vendors and channels stimulated consumer PC demand," Kitagawa said. "However, some vendors made damaging price cuts to increase market share."



Gartner said HP moved past Dell based on more competitive pricing and successful team-ups with large retailers. Dell also couldn't compete in the price battle, and has had continued weakness in the enterprise market.



Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q09 (Thousands of Units) | Source: Gartner



Globally, total unit sales increased 22.1 percent year over year to a total of 90 million. Capturing the top spot was HP, with 17.8 million units shipped, securing the company a 19.8 percent market share. They were followed, in order, by Acer, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba.



Total worldwide PC shipments in 2009 were 306 million, which was a 5.2 percent increase from 2008. The mobile PC market held the highest average selling prices as HP was the year's top global vendor with 58.9 million units sold.



Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q09 (Thousands of Units) | Source: Gartner
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "The market has weathered a storm which looks to be behind us," said Jay Chou, research analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "But decreasing margins will soon become even more pertinent as one considers the long term effects of holding market share at the cost of profitability.



    "Without an effective strategy to convey a clear usage model and feature set tied to each segment, the market will inevitably continue down the slippery slope of 'good-enough' computing sold to the lowest bidder."



    The two key concepts. These issues have always plagued the Windows PC industry, but so far Apple has managed to avoid sailing into these rocks.
  • Reply 2 of 46
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    Hope all the cheap netbook (read: junkbook) pushers enjoy their brief moment in the sun. Their inflated market share numbers will come back to bite them in the a$$ in due course. Recession-bait netbooks are ruining the industry.



    Not sure why Netbooks are even counted. $300 crippled and cramped "just good enough" notebooks are not mainstream PCs.
  • Reply 3 of 46
    We could measure:

    units

    revenue

    profits



    But, we can only publish units because the companies don't provide the other numbers.



    Units as a metric makes sense when all the units sell at the same price. Not much sense when the price is changing rapidly.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    Hope all the cheap netbook (read: junkbook) pushers enjoy their brief moment in the sun. Their inflated market share numbers will come back to bite them in the a$$ in due course. Recession-bait netbooks are ruining the industry.



    Not sure why Netbooks are even counted. $300 crippled and cramped "just good enough" notebooks are not mainstream PCs.





    It's just proof that most people just want the internet on the cheap and a screen big enough to see it, with a little Office type software mixed in.



    Since 3D gaming has gone to dedicated consoles like PS3's and X-boxes, not many mainstream people need a powerful computer anymore.



    And you can't get any cheaper or more secure than a Ubuntu laptop, Firefox and the free OpenOffice suite.



    Dell even sells a Mini 10 all preloaded, except perhaps OpenOffice, but that's a free download.





    My next laptop will be a Linux PC netbook, a first for me. Sorry Apple, that iSlate better be good.
  • Reply 5 of 46
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    Interesting, since Apple is selling more Macs than ever these days. Quarter after quarter, record Mac sales. Looks like netbook sales are just that much stronger across the board. I wonder how other vendors' sales of midrange/high end PCs fared against netbook offerings. I suspect not that well.



    I think we're more than ready for a REAL tablet/slate computing platform. Bring it on, Apple.
  • Reply 6 of 46
    Will like to know the PCs percent of NetBook numbers compared to their regular PC laptops. This would be a real eye opener for Wall Street.
  • Reply 7 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    Interesting, since Apple is selling more Macs than ever these days. Quarter after quarter, record Mac sales. Looks like netbook sales are just that much stronger across the board. I wonder how other vendors' sales of midrange/high end PCs fared against netbook offerings. I suspect not that well.



    I think we're more than ready for a REAL tablet/slate computing platform. Bring it on, Apple.



    What a lot of people I think don't realize is that netbook sales are actually hurting the bottom line of both hardware makers and Microsoft, especially Microsoft.



    I think it is definitely true though, desire for beefy machines that play 3D games is definitely in rapid recession. We are seeing a lot more desire for ultraportable devices & small footprint computers.



    One area Apple could really help themselves is to really give some good attention to the AppleTV features. If they bring games to AppleTV they have a really good chance to come up against the major consoles & beat the pants off of them. Providing a few extras like ichat for AppleTV & web browsing with full flash support would see a lot of people buying into the Apple household mindset.



    Add to all this subscription based programming (something similar to netflix or BlockBuster online) and they would make a killing! Microsoft has been smart in this way, they know if they get their tentacles into enough markets they can grab hold of entire households & not just bits & pieces of someone's personal entertainment.



    All of this could be advertised by Apple in a differing light. Instead of being hammered as expensive on different fronts, they could advertise themselves as "the media home of the future, at a budget price." Something like that, maybe not exact.
  • Reply 8 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hezekiahb View Post


    What a lot of people I think don't realize is that netbook sales are actually hurting the bottom line of both hardware makers and Microsoft, especially Microsoft.



    I?m not so sure MS is hurting. They are reportedly getting about $50 per Win7 Starter Edition for each netbook. Since these are not suitable replacements for real notebooks and are seen as more disposable than other PCs MS is likely getting another OEM sale from those same customers after a shorter time period.



    Quote:

    One area Apple could really help themselves is to really give some good attention to the AppleTV features. If they bring games to AppleTV they have a really good chance to come up against the major consoles & beat the pants off of them. Providing a few extras like ichat for AppleTV & web browsing with full flash support would see a lot of people buying into the Apple household mindset.



    The whole AppleTV needs to be redesigned, from the HW up.



    Quote:

    All of this could be advertised by Apple in a differing light. Instead of being hammered as expensive on different fronts, they could advertise themselves as "the media home of the future, at a budget price." Something like that, maybe not exact.



    Apple is doing great so there is no need to try to appeal to a poorer or more frugal audience for less profit, especially when it can potentially damage their brand name. Easy to lower a price, not easy to raise it again. Apple might be 5th in the US in sales but they are at or near the top in profits, the one metric that counts for companies and stockholders.
  • Reply 9 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I?m not so sure MS is hurting. They are reportedly getting about $50 per Win7 Starter Edition for each netbook. Since these are not suitable replacements for real notebooks and are seen as more disposable than other PCs MS is likely getting another OEM sale from those same customers after a shorter time period.



    They're hurting, but I agree not due to netbooks, which add to their bottom line far more than they add to the OEM's bottom lines. If Microsoft is hurting, it's because they haven't got a compelling product lineup and don't seem to know how to create one.
  • Reply 10 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    They're hurting, but I agree not due to netbooks, which add to their bottom line far more than they add to the OEM's bottom lines. If Microsoft is hurting, it's because they haven't got a compelling product lineup and don't seem to know how to create one.



    You don?t think the holiday quarter will be a record quarter in Windows sales for them?
  • Reply 11 of 46
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,238member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by satcomer View Post


    Will like to know the PCs percent of NetBook numbers compared to their regular PC laptops. This would be a real eye opener for Wall Street.



    I read somewhere, a month or so ago, that over 35% of Acer's sales are now netbooks, and the rest are mostly inexpensive notebooks. That's other than their enthusiast mobo's.



    They are also struggling for profits. But the goal as stated by their CEO was to get bigger than Dell.
  • Reply 12 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You don?t think the holiday quarter will be a record quarter in Windows sales for them?



    Maybe, I don't really know -- but either way, profit growth at Microsoft has been anemic for ten years now, and Win7 probably isn't going to change that. To be honest, I'm not sure what you're asking.
  • Reply 13 of 46
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,238member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    They're hurting, but I agree not due to netbooks, which add to their bottom line far more than they add to the OEM's bottom lines. If Microsoft is hurting, it's because they haven't got a compelling product lineup and don't seem to know how to create one.



    MS has been hurting from netbook sales. This is why Win 7 is so important to them.



    MS gets no more than $15 for each copy of XP Basic that netbook makers were selling. That's because no version of Vista could usefully run on a netbook.



    But with 7, they are getting at least $30 per copy. Netbook makers are very unhappy about that, and thus, are trying to push Linux netbooks again. At least in their cheapest machines.
  • Reply 14 of 46
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,238member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Maybe, I don't really know -- but either way, profit growth at Microsoft has been anemic for ten years now, and Win7 probably isn't going to change that. To be honest, I'm not sure what you're asking.



    Ever since MS cornered the market in OS's, they've been subject to the growth of the PC industry. When PC sales are slow, so is MS's. This is why Apple has got a shot, if they do it well. Even if MS killed the Mac and Linux, at this time, that would only add another 5.5% or so to their total. Insignificant for them.
  • Reply 15 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    MS has been hurting from netbook sales. This is why Win 7 is so important to them.



    MS gets no more than $15 for each copy of XP Basic that netbook makers were selling. That's because no version of Vista could usefully run on a netbook.



    But with 7, they are getting at least $30 per copy. Netbook makers are very unhappy about that, and thus, are trying to push Linux netbooks again. At least in their cheapest machines.



    People don?t seem to be falling for the Linux trap like they did. MS has the vendors by the balls again. I predict a record quarter for units sales, revenue and operating profits.
  • Reply 16 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    MS has been hurting from netbook sales. This is why Win 7 is so important to them.



    MS gets no more than $15 for each copy of XP Basic that netbook makers were selling. That's because no version of Vista could usefully run on a netbook.



    But with 7, they are getting at least $30 per copy. Netbook makers are very unhappy about that, and thus, are trying to push Linux netbooks again. At least in their cheapest machines.



    First, we don't really know how much Microsoft charges the OEMs, so that's just guesswork as nearly as I can tell. Second, PC sales have been growing almost not at all for the last several years, so this is the most direct impact on Microsoft's bottom line that we can accurately measure.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Ever since MS cornered the market in OS's, they've been subject to the growth of the PC industry. When PC sales are slow, so is MS's. This is why Apple has got a shot, if they do it well. Even if MS killed the Mac and Linux, at this time, that would only add another 5.5% or so to their total. Insignificant for them.



    Exactly. Not sure why you said what you did above, since we seem to be reading from the same playbook on this. I'd add that Microsoft, unlike Apple, has failed in its efforts to find high-growth, high-margin markets to exploit.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    People don?t seem to be falling for the Linux trap like they did. MS has the vendors by the balls again. I predict a record quarter for units sales, revenue and operating profits.



    So, what's the alternative to record sales, revenues, and profits? Declining sales, revenues and profits. The latter would be a disaster, but the former isn't necessarily much better than a disaster if the record is doesn't also reflect significant growth. Microsoft (or any other company) could set a record every year by growing profits 1%, but nobody would be talking like that was something to celebrate.
  • Reply 17 of 46
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,238member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    First, we don't really know how much Microsoft charges the OEMs, so that's just guesswork as nearly as I can tell. Second, PC sales have been growing almost not at all for the last several years, so this is the most direct impact on Microsoft's bottom line that we can accurately measure.



    Actually, we do. There are leaks from unhappy vendors all the time. And now, MS has been forbidden to charge different vendors different prices because of the federal case they lost.



    Quote:

    Exactly. Not sure why you said what you did above, since we seem to be reading from the same playbook on this. I'd add that Microsoft, unlike Apple, has failed in its efforts to find high-growth, high-margin markets to exploit.



    The only thing MS can try to do is to come out with something so compelling that everyone MUST have it. I don;t see them doing that. Other than basic OS's, they've failed at it.



    Quote:

    So, what's the alternative to record sales, revenues, and profits? Declining sales, revenues and profits. The latter would be a disaster, but the former isn't necessarily much better than a disaster if the record is doesn't also reflect significant growth. Microsoft (or any other company) could set a record every year by growing profits 1%, but nobody would be talking like that was something to celebrate.



    They had declining sales last year, or was it 2008? I don't remember now.



    But it looks that it's, "as the PC industry goes, so goes MS".



    It may be true that a new OS version, if done well, can spur sales of PC's, but it's just for a quarter or two before things settle down again. We're seeing that with 7. There were so many sales that were held back, that now they're popping.
  • Reply 18 of 46
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    But with 7, they are getting at least $30 per copy. Netbook makers are very unhappy about that, and thus, are trying to push Linux netbooks again. At least in their cheapest machines.



    Good luck with that. Other than Android (or Chrome), Linux is simply a bag of hurt. And Android (or Chrome) in my mind is really no more Linux than OSX is FreeBSD.
  • Reply 19 of 46
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    Good luck with that. Other than Android (or Chrome), Linux is simply a bag of hurt. And Android (or Chrome) in my mind is really no more Linux than OSX is FreeBSD.





    How is Linux a "bag of hurt"?



    I run Ubuntu with a OS X theme in Fusion and my Mac friends do a double take.



    For a OS and the free OpenOffice suit, Flash for Linux, and of course Firefox, it's a very decent netbook OS.



    Better than Windows I would say, runs faster, no headaches and a lot of free software for Linux too.



    If Apple made a netbook...
  • Reply 20 of 46
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hezekiahb View Post


    What a lot of people I think don't realize is that netbook sales are actually hurting the bottom line of both hardware makers and Microsoft, especially Microsoft.



    I think it is definitely true though, desire for beefy machines that play 3D games is definitely in rapid recession. We are seeing a lot more desire for ultraportable devices & small footprint computers.



    Exactly, and this was predicted with the thermal wall hit.



    The next X-Box will likely get a Cell processor or two, you watch.



    Quote:

    One area Apple could really help themselves is to really give some good attention to the AppleTV features. If they bring games to AppleTV they have a really good chance to come up against the major consoles & beat the pants off of them. Providing a few extras like ichat for AppleTV & web browsing with full flash support would see a lot of people buying into the Apple household mindset.



    Apple would need the Cell processor for that, something beefy enough. The G5 is dead, too hot and requires at least three to do anything. Sony might have something to complain about that move if Apple does it though. Apple should just buy Sony, make it easy.





    Quote:

    Add to all this subscription based programming (something similar to netflix or BlockBuster online) and they would make a killing! Microsoft has been smart in this way, they know if they get their tentacles into enough markets they can grab hold of entire households & not just bits & pieces of someone's personal entertainment.



    Steve Jobs is Disney too, and that creates a conflict with other content creators.



    Netflix tried to buy a studio or something and realized that move would hurt it's neutrality and getting content from nearly all sources.



    Steve won't allow Netflix on the AppleTV, you can buy a Roku for $99 to do that, or if you have a PS3 you can get a free disk from Netflix to allow you to stream.





    Quote:

    All of this could be advertised by Apple in a differing light. Instead of being hammered as expensive on different fronts, they could advertise themselves as "the media home of the future, at a budget price." Something like that, maybe not exact.





    Yea, I like Netflix too. Best deal for the most content anytime, stream or disks. (not all stream)
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