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Apple has risen to a 10 percent U.S. market share in sales for the first time in years.  (Source: MacLife)

Lenovo posted even bigger international growth.  (Source: Flickr)

Lenovo wins even bigger in world sales

In a testament to its brilliant marketing, innovative packaging, and strong brand image, Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has reportedly achieved over 10 percent U.S. personal computer market share for the first time since the early 1990s.

Both Gartner, Inc. (IT) and IDC Research, Inc. -- two of the most prestigious market research firms -- have concluded [1][2] that Apple took 10.7 of the U.S. market in calendar quarter 2011.  The researchers used gathered shipment data to draw their conclusions, the most accurate of several market analytics approaches.

While the 10 percent figure represents computers sold in the quarter and not the total percentage of computers in operation, the study shows that consumers are increasingly picking Apple, even as the overall PC market struggles.

Incidentally, Apple's best-selling iPad tablet is cited as a major factor in declining PC sales.  Gartner estimates that sales dropped 5.6 percent year-to-year, while the IDC estimates that sales dipped 4.2 percent.  

Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa remarks, "Given the hype around media tablets such as the iPad, retailers were very conservative in placing orders for PCs. Instead, they wanted to secure space for media tablets. Some PC vendors had to lower their inventory through promotions, while others slimmed their product lines at retailers."

But Apple managed to buck the trend it helped create, posting 8.5 percent growth, according to Gartner, or 14.7 percent growth according to the IDC.  Both Gartner and the IDC say Apple is now in third place in PC sales.

Another clear "winner" was Japan's Toshiba Corp. (TYO:6502) who rose 3.3 percent according to Gartner, or 3.7 percent according to the IDC.  Toshiba bumped Taiwanese computer-maker ASUSTEK Computer Inc. (TPE:2357) to sixth place in U.S. sales.

Market-leader Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) and the Taiwanese Acer Inc. (TPE:2353) shed market share in the U.S.  In Acer's case, the fall was particularly precipitous, with both Gartner and IDC estimating its drop at over 20 percent.  Acer's fall was precipitated by the mild collapse of the netbook market, a key driver of its sales.

Dell, Inc. (DELL) lost ground to HP, dropping 10.2 percent (according to the IDC) or 9.8 percent (according to Gartner), however it still clung to second place.

Global sales showed anemic 2.3 percent growth (Gartner) or 2.6 percent growth (IDC).  HP and Dell both posted similar world growth and enjoyed the same rankings as in the U.S.  Apple did not rank in global sales.  

In global sales ASUSTEK occupied the fifth spot, with Acer's posting a smaller global lost and dropping to fourth.  Globally the biggest winner was Hong Kong-based Lenovo Group, Ltd. (HKG: 0992) who grew 22.9 percent (IDC) or 22.5 percent (Gartner) to seize third place.  Lenovo's biggest gains were in the U.S. and Japan, markets it has traditionally seen lower sales in.

Apple's rise from obscurity to a solid third place ranking in the U.S. is not without its shortcomings.  Apple has thus far struggled to replicate that growth globally, particularly in markets where price trumps image or where local players have a strong foothold (e.g. Asia).  The rise in market share has also led to a rising number of serious malware attacks on Apple's OS X platform -- a platform that has typically been ignored by hackers, thanks to its small market share.

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RE: Are people high or just incredibly stupid?
By Tony Swash on 7/14/2011 6:58:00 PM , Rating: -1
What's so striking about many comments about Apple, particularly the most phobic, is how gormless they are, as people scratch their heads in incomprehension about the success of Apple's products whilst simultaneously congratulating themselves on being brighter than Apple's customers. It's slightly embarrassing to watch.

For many, faced with phenomena they simply cannot explain within their current world view, the only recourse seems to be to fall back on vacuous and empty slogans endlessly repeated. Apple fans are 'sheeple'. Apple's advertising is hypnotising people. People who make different buying decisions different than themselves are stupid. Apple puts it's products in attractive boxes.

None of the following seems to enter many people's frame of reference:

Apple has an unequalled reputation for quality and customer service.

Apple has built the world's largest digital products and media store.

Apple has created and deployed the world's most successful retail operation which is growing rapidly.

Apple has consistently honed it's product line to a clinically precise and immensely consumer friendly range of SKUs all wrapped in cohesive branding

Apple is one of the few tech companies with excellent and highly integrated software and hardware skills and products

Apple has always prioritised product design higher than almost any other company

Apple's product line is unusually integrated and coherent

Apple never uses focus groups or significant market research

Apple's supply chain is probably the best of any tech manufacturer which translates into quality of components, value for money and in certain key products such as the iPod and iPad significant price advantages

Apple is unafraid of aggressively entering entirely new markets and doing so with unusually innovative products which almost always functions as market disruptors

Apple is seemingly far more willing than most tech companies to kill legacy technology and move onto the new

Apple does not operate loss leaders, it's least financially succesful but strategic products at worse break even but usually turn a low profit

Apple core products are hugely profitable even in highly competitive markets

Apple has never made large acquisitions (except for the reverse take over by Next) and instead focuses on small but strategic acquisitions which strengthen rather disrupt its internal management cohesion

One could go on but you can see where this is leading. None of the above are accidents or the result of good luck, they are all the result of planning and vision and yet somehow so many see Apple's success as being anomalous or surprising.

RE: Are people high or just incredibly stupid?
By Pirks on 7/14/2011 7:12:41 PM , Rating: 2
Apple never uses focus groups or significant market research
Please explain how this could be an advantage? Why researching market is bad?

By snakeInTheGrass on 7/14/2011 10:26:49 PM , Rating: 2
Zune brown? 700 products tailored to every possible whim of every possible consumer instead of making a few products that are better? Maybe because if market research is your #1 guide you have no actual vision?

Dunno. I can't really come up with any reasons either.

RE: Are people high or just incredibly stupid?
By Taft12 on 7/14/2011 11:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
Please explain how this could be an advantage? Why researching market is bad?

It's certainly not ALWAYS bad, but look no further than the Windows Vista shutdown crapfest for what happens when there's too many cooks in the kitchen:

The blog is from the guy who was responsible for that abomination (which has remained mostly the same into Windows 7)

By Pirks on 7/15/2011 12:34:06 AM , Rating: 2
This nice post about how f*cked up and bloated beyong belief MS became since its early years still has no relation to my question about why researching market is bad, sorry!

By Tony Swash on 7/15/2011 4:26:36 AM , Rating: 1
:Apple never uses focus groups or significant market research Please explain how this could be an advantage? Why researching market is bad?

Before the invention of the car if you had had based your product development on market research into what consumers of transport wanted you would decided to breed a better horse.

The fact that Apple does no traditional market research and yet has produced a string of immensely popular products is in itself an interesting phenomena, unfortunately the scale of Apple phobic piffle on this forum often obscures debate about such interesting topics.

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