Apple Mac Shipments Grew in Q3, but HP, Acer, Dell Dominate

Apple, which does not participate in the netbook trend, shipped 1.6 million mobile computers in the third quarter, according to Gartner. The overall PC market also unexpectedly grew in the third quarter of 2009, though it still saw a revenue loss due to falling prices.

In the third quarter of 2009, Apple's computer shipments reached 1.6 million units, an increase from the 1.5 million Macs the company shipped during the third quarter of 2008. The number boosted Apple's PC vendor market share to 8.8 percent, for a growth of 6.8 percent year over year.
"These are good results, especially given that PC shipments for the third quarter of 2009 are being compared to a very strong third quarter from 2008," said Mikako Kitagawa, a principal analyst with Gartner, in a statement. Kitagawa was responding to overall PC shipments, which Gartner had expected to decline by 5.6 percent but instead grew 0.5 percent.
"Sequentially, third-quarter shipments grew 18 percent, which is higher than the historical seasonal growth from the second and third quarter," Kitagawa continued.
Worldwide, Hewlett Packard dominated, with a market share of 19.9 percent, up from 18.4 percent a year earlier. In the United States, Dell led the pack, with 26.2 percent market share for the quarter, followed by HP, with 25.7 percent market share-representing a drop from its third-quarter 2008 shares of 26 percent. Acer came in third, with 13.9 percent market share-up significantly from its 9 percent standing a year earlier-followed by Apple in fourth position.
After three consecutive quarters of year-over-year shipment declines, states Gartner, U.S. PC shipments rose 3.9 percent from the third quarter of last year. Shipments for the third quarter of 2009 totaled 17.8 million units.
"The consumer mobile PC market drove U.S. shipment growth in the third quarter of 2009, fueled by back to school sales," Kitagawa wrote in the report. "However, the results came with a revenue loss because of very steep declines in average selling prices [ASPs]. Consumers were comfortable buying PCs, but they were relentlessly looking for bargains. Our preliminary research shows consumer mobile PC ASPs declined more than 20 percent compared to a year ago."
The drop in ASPs has widely been blamed on netbooks-a form factor that Apple does not participate in. Instead, it is rumored to be working on a tablet-style device, which would reportedly retail for more than a netbook but less than Apple's least-expensive laptop. In addition to low ASPs, netbook sales have been boosted, in the United States and abroad, by service offers from cable companies and wireless carriers that bundle service plans with subsidized devices-much like consumers have become accustomed to with smartphones.
Kitagawa reports that low-priced PCs led shipment growth, but that revenues can't be ignored.
"Ongoing price declines continue to be a major issue in the PC industry. PC vendor performance cannot be determined solely by unit market share gains alone, as related revenues and margin performance are key to surviving in a very competitive market," Kitagawa wrote.
On Oct. 19, Apple will report the financial results of its 2009 fourth fiscal quarter. Dell will report on its 2009 fiscal fourth quarter on Nov. 23.