updated 05:20 pm EDT, Wed October 12, 2011
Gartner Q3 2011 shows Mac still on rapid rise
The Mac is now solidly in third place in US market share, Gartner's summer estimates showed. At a predicted 2.3 million Macs, Apple will have shot from 10.8 percent a year ago to 12.9 percent. Once-growing Toshiba has now started shrinking and fell slightly to 8.4 percent for fourth place, while Acer's vulnerability to the iPad left it falling by a quarter to fifth place at 7.8 percent.
HP was the only Windows PC builder to grow in the summer and moved up to 28.9 percent to widen its lead in the top spot versus a shrinking Dell.
Lenovo was the star on the world stage, Gartner said. Its shipments grew by a quarter to push it to second place for the first time, at 13.5 percent to HP's 17.7 percent. Acer was once again the primary victim and was now fourth with 10.6 percent. ASUS grew enough to hold on to a fifth-place spot, but at 6.2 percent wasn't yet in a position to overtake anyone else.
Researchers explained Apple's position as a two-pronged attack. Along with the effect of tablets led by the iPad, which have mostly been taking share away from low-end notebooks and netbooks, it was also seeing a spike in its Mac sales from the new MacBook Air. All of the remaining top five US PC builders either have or will have a direct answer to the Air, but all are arriving late to the market as a reaction to Apple's success.
Lenovo was helped both by its team-up with NEC in Japan and its ability to pitch to both business and home users in balance. Acer was still clearing out unsold PCs following a poor first half of the year, but resellers were now hesitant to place more orders after being burned and might see Acer's share stay low.
As a whole, the PC industry was growing just 3.2 percent, below Gartner's own forecasts. Most of this was dragged down by western Europe and the US, but poor back-to-school sales and a shift towards the iPad and smartphones were taking cash that would otherwise have gone to PCs. The situation wasn't likely to change during the holidays, Gartner said, alluding to a likely rush in iPad sales.