Apple sales soar to capture 14% of US PC retail sales

Apple sales soar to capture 14% of US PC retail sales

Summary: Mac sales have now soared to account for 14% unit share and 25% dollar share of all US-based PC retail sales, that's according to market research firm NPD. If there's a smell of recession in the air, the stink hasn't got as far as Mac buyers that yet.


Mac sales have now soared to account for 14% unit share and 25% dollar share of all US-based PC retail sales, that's according to market research firm NPD.

Apple sales soar to capture 14% of US PC retail salesHere's a breakdown of the data:

  • Mac unit share up from 9% in Feb 07 to 14% in Feb 08.
  • Mac dollar share up from 16% in Feb 07 to 25% in Feb 08.
  • Notebook unit sales up 64% (compared to 20% in the retail segment as a whole)
  • Notebook unit revenue up 67% (compared to 11% in the retail segment as a whole)
  • Desktop unit sales up 55% (compared to -5% in the retail segment as a whole)
  • Desktop unit revenue up 68% (compared to -2% in the retail segment as a whole)

The take away from this is simple - if there's a smell of recession in the air, the stink hasn't got as far as Mac buyers that yet.   Fear that the economy has gone soggy isn't having any negative effects on Mac sales at all.  Apple once again demonstrates that it is capable of outperforming the rest of the PC industry.

So, what's behind this?

  • New lines Apple has bought out some seriously sexy products over the past few months (for example, the MacBook Air), and these are likely to be fueling sales.
  • Marketing Apple's high-quality, focused marketing strategy is very successful at generating a buzz when new products are released.  Also, by focusing away from the technical aspects of line upgrades, Apple doesn't fall into the same trap that most other vendors do, that of "same basic system, only slightly faster and with slightly more capacity."  Apple presents each line revamp as an evolutionary step (no matter how small that step might be in reality). Also, let's not forget that Apple enjoys a lot of free publicity - mainstream media is full of "Mac yack" and Apple chatter which does the company no end of good.
  • Mac vs. Windows Apple has taken the negative vide surrounding Windows Vista and spun this into an "us vs. them" marketing message that seems to be working very well.

Apple's on a roll.  It took the success of the iPod and transformed brand awareness (people knowing about iPods) into company awareness (people knowing about Apple) and then used that to cross-sell Macs to a whole generation of users who, a few years ago might not have heard of Apple or the Mac OS.  All of which is just as well really, since iPod sales are now becoming somewhat spongy, not because of the economy but because of saturation (hands up who wants and iPod but doesn't have one yet ...).

[poll id=270]


Topics: Apple, Enterprise Software, Hardware

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  • The OS just rocks

    It's easy, straightforward, stable, and powerful. Leopard is the anti-Vista and gives you what I like to call "mindless productivity." I can do everything I want at home, work, and school quickly and easily. This was the only OS that could woo me away from Ubuntu. It's that good, and, to my mind, Vista is that bad. Unless Apple really screws up future generations of their OS, I'm an Apple customer for life. I'm not a fanboy (I still like Linux too much), but I certainly understand now where the rabid brand loyalty comes from.

    The one place where I still see some softness is in the enterprise, where Linux is a cheaper, completely viable option long term. Same goes for the cheap mini-laptop market (e.g., OLPC, Classmate, Eee, etc.). Where cost is king, Apple will still struggle.

    Chris Dawson
    • Agree. Apple continues to impress and should keep going

      I'm a windows XP user and only because of inertia to get on the Mac wagon. If I had to buy a new PC today it would be a MAC for the reasons you state.

      Apple is just makes impressive, sexy and fun to use products. Thank goodness iTunes runs on windows, otherwise I'm dumping that POS windows environment. I would have upgraded to Vista but application incompatibility with XP was the show stopper for me. Never mind the recent MS red herring that the Intel 915 chipset support is the problem. Oh please.

      MS is like a huge dinosaur being taken down by Apple, Google, IBM, Linux, Facebook and their own incompetence. Windows 7 not only needs to be incredibly better than OSX, they better deliver that puppy like THIS YEAR.
      • don't forget the old cliche...

        Success breeds contempt. As more people use Mac's, more people will find flaws with them. And as OSX becomes more ubiquitous, so will viruses aimed for OSX. And if Apple continues to grow and grow, it will also be that huge dinosaur one day like MS. As much as you are loyal to Apple, just don't forget that at the end of the day, it's still a business.
        • Very good point, actually...

          There's always some slick new *nix distro waiting for my loyalty if Apple fails me down the road :)

        • Actually, the cliche is....

          ... success breeds success. The other one is [i]"familiarity breeds contempt"[/i], but your point about attracting the attention of virus writers [i]et al[/i] is a valid one.
        • Of couse they will

          Once they become the apple in the criminals eye;s they will become the bogey man,and poor MS will be the lovey.
          • Yep...

            I've always said Apple and to a minor extent Linux Growth is great news for Microsoft. You have "commoners" and not the religous goofs who live a the alter or Jobs. Apple will have to learn to deal with the slings an arrow. THey may and may will be interesting
    • One more issue ...

      Because OS X is *nix it plays very nicely with other *nix systems (Linux, BSD, Solaris, etc.) unlike Windows. So more Apples means better intergration in the server space with commodity servers running Linux or BSD.

      Also more market share of Apple in the upper scale allows Linux to take the lower end of the market. It's a win-win for everyone, well... everyone except Microsoft. ;)
  • RE: Apple sales soar to capture 14???0of US PC retail sales

    Finally Apple did a few things right to go along with their
    superior OS that they have had for years-- switched to
    Intel processors and standard drives and interface
    protocols (USB2 and firewire). Mac's are now much
    cheaper, can run most software that 95% of users need and
    can still run MS Windows for the other 5%. This is the
    reason for major growth with Macs. Apple could have even
    a larger share if they ran about twice as much TV and
    magazine ads as now and cleared up the huge amount of
    misconceptions that still linger in the minds of +30 year
    olds about Apple Mac computers.
  • Not Surprising

    Granted I was not expecting a growth increase of that much. Jumping up to 14% of impressive to say the least. I see the growth continueing, despite the slowing economy. Not to quite this extent, but it will grow.

    The sandard MacBook's sell like crazy. I see them all over the place. And a large majority of them are first time Mac owners. And I agree that Vista turned a lot of people off of a PC, and onto a Mac.
  • Sexy, negative advertising?

    How about just good products, innovation and hard work?

    How about the failure of Vista to excite XP users to upgrade.
    Tired, disaffected Windows users are now switching to Mac in
    droves. Negative advertising alone didn't do that, those are
    people who found truth in those "us vs them" ads.
    Len Rooney
    • re: Sexy, negative advertising?

      [i]How about the failure of Vista to excite XP users to upgrade. Tired, disaffected Windows users are now switching to Mac in droves. Negative advertising alone didn't do that, those are people who found truth in those "us vs them" ads.[/i]

      I'll grant you that Vista has been at least a PR nightmare for MS, and that many people have switched to Apple (which is a good thing IMO). But finding truth in the "us vs them" ads, must have been a long search. I'd say they were probably more swayed by the ads than finding truth in them. Though I do enjoy watching them.
  • Just 2 Points

    Remember, the story is about retail sales (not overall sales) which include online and other types of sales. Also, Apple's sales surge has a lot to do with customers ability to use Windows on their systems. That's one of the reasons MS is not sweating so much. Still, Apple's performance is impressive.
    P. Douglas
    • Not really ...

      [i]Apple's sales surge has a lot to do with customers ability to use Windows on their systems. [/i]

      Not really since the ability to run Windows applications has been there since Apple switched to Intel. The real reason it in the mobile computing department.

      Apple, Asus, and Nokia have been taking more market share with their *nix offerings since the swing from a more traditional desktop to a mobile environment started to occur, which is perfectly fine with me since OS X and Linux play nice together.

      Don't believe me? Just look at the top 25 mobile computing devices on

      Only six are selling Windows. And the reason. They're smart, vibrate, and sexy devices unlike their Windows counterparts. Did you see what the top selling computer was? And yes not everyone is switching in droves to put Windows on the Eee PC, but only those that can't seem to live without a "Start" button:,25642,23388390-5014108,00.html

      Anyway if you install XP you have to do some hacks with the page file so you don't trash you SDD, install a bunch of drivers and applications, and you need a portable CD Rom device.

      The "average" consumer is not going to go through all of that hassle to install Windows on the Eee PC. In similar fashion the "average" consumer is not going to go through the hassle of installing Windows on a Apple. Both are just going to use what came on the computer.

      Is that not what the MS zealots have been telling us for years? ;)
  • How much of the increase...

    ... comes from owners of pre-Intel Macs finally making a new purchase in order to be able to run Vista?

    Just asking.
    Anton Philidor
    • 99%

      Mike Cox told me so.
      • 1% - Mike Cox not withstanding...... nt

    • You probably meant that tongue-in-cheek

      But from the Mac users I know, the anser would be little to none. Why upgrade from something that works to something that doesn't?
  • Their heads are getting big they may explode

    Yeah this is just another thing to fuel the arrogance that is many Mac users. I love it when the reasons for going to Mac are because "Vista sucks", why not because the OS is that much better. It really isn't just the casing the the feel of having the Mac in your hands is cool, and way cooler than Vista. But I have been using Vista for 8 months now running x64 version and not a one crash yet and runs just fine like XP did, how lucky am I not to get hit by the "Vista sucks" bug. And I use my notebook for real world business apps and not taking funky pictures with the mac photobooth and putting them up on myspace, now thats cool and worth the hundreds more. Next thing you know people will be caught making out with their Mac notebooks becasue they are that sexy, hey someone call a psychologist!
    • Weird........

      My friend,

      Just because a Mac user is happy with his or her purchase
      does not mean they are arrogant or big headed. In fact I
      can understand your confusion however it's called
      confidence brought on by experience. Many people have
      had some sort of experience with Windows over the years
      so they know of what they speak. And for some not all the
      experience has not been as good as yours (differences
      abound between us all it would seem) So for some of
      those Linux or Apple and OSX have provided a superior
      experience and they are happy about it. I will grant you
      that saying VISTA blanks is a bit harsh and should not be
      said but sometimes people have very bitter experiences
      with a given product and can't help but use the simplest
      bumper sticker type explanations to espouse said. So be

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn