updated 06:40 pm EST, Mon December 13, 2010
NPD November says Apple, Lenovo up in down market
Apple, Lenovo and Toshiba are some of the few computer builders to see their sales go up in a harsh November, the NPD Group said Monday. PC sales in the US were down six percent overall last month, but Apple grew 19 percent, Toshiba 22 percent and Lenovo 69 percent compared to a month earlier. Dell and HP by contrast suffered during the period, as Dell grew just five percent while HP's results plummeted 15 percent.
For Apple, the improvement was likely to be consistent for the whole quarter, since it gained 20 percent year-over-year in both September and October. Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes attributed the sustained improvement over November last year, which set a record 33 percent growth, to the new MacBook Air. They didn't include international results, which are expected to grow faster and could lead Apple to higher overall performance.
The figures both validated Toshiba's confidence in its own performance but simultaneously confirmed its suspicions that Windows 7 was a temporary bump. With Windows 7 no longer new to help draw in new customers, the majority of PC assemblers were seeing their sales cool down, Reitzes added. Microsoft in October said it had shipped 240 million copies of Windows 7 in its first year, setting a new speed record, but hasn't given results since October or broken down its performance month by month.
The relative share growth could still see Apple claim an authoritative third place in US computer sales. It was tied with Acer in the summer, according to Gartner, and was threatening to move past as Acer's shipments dropped as much as 21 percent. Some of the swap may have been attributable to the iPad dragging down companies that relied the heaviest on netbooks: Acer and HP have lowered their unit numbers owing directly to tablets, Taiwan insiders have claimed.
Both Lenovo and Toshiba produce netbooks, but as smaller players in the field compared to Acer, ASUS, Dell and HP have had little to lose in the short term. The two are best known for their full-size notebooks.