updated 04:30 pm EDT, Wed October 14, 2009
IDC Q3 2009 has Apple, Acer as winners
Apple has successfully recaptured its fourth place spot in US computer market share, according to early estimates from IDC. The Mac creator had slipped in spring but should now have bounced back to claim 9.4 percent of shipments, or about 1.64 million Macs. The number is a rapid 35.2 percent growth in what it had shipped one season earlier and is a rare example of a sharp year-over-year growth in the current climate, as it represents an 11.8 percent boost over Apple's share a year ago, in summer 2008.
The company's closest rival, Toshiba, only grew half as much from spring to summer and should have 8.1 percent of the market with about 1.43 million PCs. Acer was the fastest riser from year to year, shipping a large 48.3 percent more PCs (1.95 million) and moving up to third place with 11.1 percent of the market; however, its shipments are actually a slight decline from the spring, when it was estimated to have shipped 2.01 million PCs to US shelves.
At the top of the rankings, HP now appears to have overtaken Dell for the first time in the US and benefited mostly from a rapid decline in its close competitor's sales. HP only shipped slightly more PCs than it did last year, gaining 3.2 percent more to reach 4.47 million PCs and 25.5 percent of the American space, but watched Dell's shipments plunge 13.4 percent compared to 2008 and leave it 25 percent, or 4.38 million PCs.
Worldwide, Acer appears to have tentatively met its goal of overtaking Dell and surged 25.6 percent to get exactly 14 percent of the total market with 15.79 million PCs. HP held on to its lead with a 9.3 percent increase to 20.2 percent share, but Dell once again saw a decline and fell to third place with 12.7 percent of all computers; Lenovo and Toshiba held on to fourth and fifth place with 8.9 percent and 5.2 percent respectively.
Apple's share of international sales was once more too low to reach the top five but is unofficially believed to sit at about four percent.
Researchers don't fully explain Apple's sudden recovery in its home territory but did observe that notebooks, a particular strength of Apple, were in high demand thanks to the back-to-school season. It and other companies with a strong foothold in retail shops also benefited the most. Buyers were regardless more likely to opt for less expensive systems, IDC says.
Acer's fast rise is attributed both in the US and on the world stage to its strong focus on netbooks as well as low-cost conventional PCs.
As a whole, the market grew about 2 percent compared to summer 2008, results that IDC vice president Bob O'Donnell sees as signs of an economic recovery following drops in the winter and spring. He goes so far as to predict "very solid" growth in the near future as the combination of next week's Windows 7 launch and the next wave of the PC update cycle should spark added sales.