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Mac sales grow 11.8% as Apple takes 9.4% U.S. market share

Mac sales saw double-digit growth in the third quarter of 2009, maintaining Apple's position as the fourth-largest U.S. PC manufacturer, according to new data released Wednesday from IDC.


Overall, Apple came in fourth for U.S. vendors, selling an estimated 1.64 million Macs stateside during the frame. That's up 11.8 percent from the 1.47 million the company sold in the same frame one year prior.

Last quarter, IDC reported that Apple shipped 1.2 million computers in the U.S., a year-over-year decline of 12.4 percent. That was good for a 7.6 percent stateside market share, in terms of shipments.

Overall, the U.S. PC market grew an estimated 2.5 percent. The bulk of that came from portable machines, as netbooks continue to grow in popularity, IDC said. In the U.S. in particular, consumers gravitated toward low-cost machines to save money on back to school purchases.

"Despite a continuing mix of gloom and caution on the economic front, the PC market continues to rebound quickly," said Loren Loverde, program director for IDC's Tracker Program. "The competitive landscape, including transition to portables, new and low-power designs, growth in retail and consumer segments, and the impact of falling prices are reflected in the gains by HP and Acer, as well as overall market growth."

Leading the domestic pack was HP, which held a 25.5 percent market share with 4.47 million PCs shipped. Close on its heels was Dell, which took 25 percent of the market, but was down 13.4 percent from a year prior. The second-largest computer maker sold 4.37 million units.

In third was Acer, which achieved staggering year-over-year growth of 48.3 percent. The netbook maker shipped an estimated 1.95 million units to take an 11.1 percent share of the US market, up from 1.31 million units during the year-ago quarter.

Behind Apple, in fifth place, was Toshiba, which shipped 1.43 million units during the frame, good for an 8.1 percent share. All other PC manufacturers combined accounted for 20.9 percent, with 3.66 million units shipped.

Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q09 (Thousands of Units) | Source: IDC

In all, 17.5 million PCs were shipped in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2009.

Worldwide, the top vendor was again HP, with 15.79 total million units shipped, giving it a 20.2 percent share. Acer's strong quarter propelled it to No. 2, moving 11 million units, a 25.6 percent increase from last year. Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba rounded out the top five globally.

Total worldwide PC shipments grew 2.3 percent year over year during the third quarter, to 78.1 million units. It was a positive result worldwide, as all regions either met or exceeded expectations, with the exception of Japan.

IDC Worldwide shipments
Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q09 (Thousands of Units) | Source: IDC

"The continued strength of both the US and worldwide PC business in the face of difficult economic environments underscores the value that both consumer and corporate buyers place on PCs," said to Bob O’Donnell, vice president, Clients and Displays. "With the forthcoming launch of Windows 7 and expected commercial refresh beginning in 2010, the prospects for future PC market growth are very solid."


Market research firm Gartner also released its preliminary sales figures Wednesday. Their totals also placed Apple as the fourth-largest U.S. PC maker, but with overall slightly lower numbers.

Gartner estimated that Apple sold 1.57 million Macs during the third quarter stateside, good for an 8.8 percent market share. That amounts to a year-over-year increase of 6.8 percent.

Last quarter, the firm said Apple had an 8.7 percent share of the U.S. computer market, moving 1.42 million total Macs in America.

In Gartner's estimate, Dell was the top domestic PC maker in the third quarter, with a 26.2 percent share of sales. The company shipped an estimated 4.67 PCs during the frame, off 8.9 percent from a year prior.

HP came in second, with a 25.7 percent share and 4.57 PCs shipped. That's a 2.7 percent increase from the third quarter of 2008.

The firm also recorded Acer's explosive growth, with the company growing 61.4 percent year-over year to ship 2.5 million machines in the U.S. in the September quarter. Acer, in third, as 13.9 percent of the domestic market.

Coming in fifth stateside was Toshiba, selling 1.4 million machines good for an 8 percent share. Overall, sales increased in the U.S. 3.9 percent, with 17.81 million PCs shipped.

Gartner U.S shipments
Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q09 (Thousands of Units) | Source: Gartner

"The consumer mobile PC market drove U.S. shipment growth in the third quarter of 2009, fueled by back to school sales," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "However, the results came with a revenue loss because of very steep declines in average selling prices (ASPs). Consumers were comfortable buying PCs, but they were relentlessly looking for bargains. Our preliminary research shows consumer mobile PC ASPs declined more than 20 percent compared to a year ago."

Globally, the firm estimated a small 0.5 percent growth, with 80.86 million total PCs shipped. HP was the top global producer, with 16.12 million of those, good for a 19.9 percent overall share. HP's share in the third quarter grew 9 percent year over year.

Shipping 12.48 million units during the frame was second-place Acer, which grew 23.6 percent worldwide from a year before. In third, fourth and fifth, respectively, were Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba.

Gartner U.S shipments
Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q09 (Thousands of Units) | Source: Gartner

Gartner has predicted that the launch of Windows 7 will not have a major impact on future growth of PC sales. However, inventory adjustments could skew shipment totals higher.

"Recent OS releases have not been a growth driver in the PC market, however the timing of Windows 7's is favorable for the industry due to expected economic improvements and an overdue hardware replacement cycle," Kitagawa said. "We anticipate renewed interest in hardware upgrades from consumers and small business during the holiday season as a result Windows 7’s release. In the corporate market, Windows 7 adoption is not expected to ramp up until late 2010."