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Report: Mac Spending Up Despite Poor Outlook for Consumer Electronics

Changewave's latest customer surveys report that general consumer electronic spending is low and trending lower, but that Apple's Mac sales are up and rising by a significant margin.

The group surveyed 4,416 participants in August to find that only 15% report plans to spend more on electronics over the next 90 days, while 34% plan to spend less. Changewave's surveys are held monthly and serve as an accurate overall barometer of future spending.

When asked where they planned to spend their back to school money, 8% said they would spend more money at the online Apple Store than they did last year, while 4% said they would spend less money there. Changewave noted that made Apple "far and away the biggest winner" of the sites respondents mentioned.

The group said participants' plans to buy new PC remained weak, with just 8% saying they would buy a new laptop in the next three months, and only 5% planning to buy a new desktop, a drop of 2 points from a year ago.

Of those planning a purchase however, 34% of laptop buyers and 30% planning to get desktop computer said they would be getting a Mac. That marks a steady rise from around 18% in the 2006 back to school season and the 23% to 28% reported last year.

Apple beat out Dell in forecasted sales in the US consumer survey, with the top PC maker only getting 28% of planned laptops and 28% of planned desktop PC purchases. HP ranked with 20% for laptops and 17% for desktops.

A full 17% of iPhone 3G owners said they are now more likely to buy an Apple laptop or desktop based on their experience with the phone, compared to just 1% who reported they were less likely to consider a Mac in the future.

"The key takeaway from these survey results," Changewave noted, "is that consumer electronics spending will remain weak over the next 90 days. The one bright spot is Apple, whose Mac sales are outperforming and are poised to once again reach new all-time highs."