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Apple, Acer Battle for Third Spot in US PC Market

By Chris Maxcer MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jul 17, 2008 1:34 PM PT

Two research firms, Gartner and IDC, have released reports indicating Apple has generated a stellar uptick in shipments of Macs to customers in the United States -- so much so that the Cupertino, Calif., company has eclipsed, or perhaps surpassed, Acer to become the third biggest personal computer manufacturer selling in the U.S. market.

Apple, Acer Battle for Third Spot in US PC Market

While IDC puts Apple virtually neck-and-neck with Acer with 7.8 percent of the U.S. market, both IDC and Gartner report astounding Apple growth in the second quarter of 2008 compared to the second quarter of 2007.

IDC's Numbers

In the U.S., IDC reported that Apple shipped 1,329,000 Macs compared to Acer's 1,331,000 PCs, both of which paled in comparison to Dell's 5,443,000 and HP's 4,259,000. In terms of U.S. growth, Dell only grew 12.1 percent and HP 5.9 percent, while Apple grew a whopping 31.7 percent, IDC reported. Acer's reported growth in U.S. units shipped was 49.9 percent, but that number appears to simply add PCs sold by Gateway, which Acer acquired in late 2007.

"Despite the economic headwinds, the PC market continued to show its resilience," noted Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

"Product refreshes, vendor competition for channels, and aggressive pricing add to the ongoing trend toward portable computing in attracting buyers. The steady growth, despite the pressure on consumer finances, reflects the increasingly important role of PCs within personal technology, and steady improvements in price and design. Nevertheless, economic pressures are mounting, and PC market growth is expected to decline over the next year. The relatively strong PC market in recent quarters does not mean that the sector is immune to the changing economic environment," Loverde added.

Gartner's Take

In the U.S., Gartner reported shipments similar to IDC's: Dell moved 5,254,000 PCs, HP 4,166,000, Apple 1,397,000, Acer 1,331,000, and Toshiba 907,000. In percentage growth, Apple clearly led the pack with 38.1 percent growth, while Acer, which included Gateway and Packard Bell shipments, actually posted a drop of 20.8 percent.

Apple's shipment numbers is Gartner's best estimate, at least for now, Mika Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner's Client Computing Markets group, told MacNewsWorld.

"When Apple releases their earnings on Monday, you may see higher or lower number compared to our estimate," Kitagawa said. "But based on our early study, we believe that Apple had a very good quarter again," she added, noting that Apple's numbers were driven by five key areas:

  • Consumer growth
  • Growing interest from professional users (mainly small businesses for now)
  • Strong education growth (as education intuitions were in high sales season)
  • Replacement cycle of PowerPC-based systems to Intel-based systems
  • Growing popularity of the Mac system and Apple's success at creating brand recognition

Fewer Apples Around the World

When it comes to worldwide shipments, Apple doesn't break into the top five in either the IDC or Gartner reports. Around the globe, HP (13 million) overtakes Dell (11 million), followed by Acer (less than 7 million), Lenovo (about 5.5 million), and Toshiba (3.1 million).

Worldwide, Toshiba saw excellent gains, leading the pack with a strong 29 percent.

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