Analyst: iPad 'cannibalizing' PC sales; nudging business Mac market

While the iPad is chomping away at U.S. K-12 markets, Macs are edging their way into the business market, likely as a result of the post-PC push by Apple's counterpart iPhone and iPad devices.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

New data suggests Apple's iPad is taking on the traditional PC by storm in the education market, as iPads are bridging the gap between PCs and Macs.

Needham analyst Charlie Wolf said in a research note (via AllThingsD) that Apple is chomping away at the education market, as PC sales declined year-on-year by more than a quarter-million in favor of more than a half-million increase in iPads in the K-12 market. 

Wolf wrote in his note that "a significant portion of iPad sales represented an expansion of the market." 

"But in view of the fact that Mac sales held steady at around 520,000 units but overall PC sales declined by 265,000 units from 1.90 million to 1.64 million units, we believe the inescapable conclusion is that the iPad is beginning to cannibalize a material portion of PC sales in this market."

The education market may only be the beginning of wider changes in the Mac vs. PC divide. The business market for Macs is looking healthy -- despite the difference in Mac vs. PC growth falling on previous quarters -- even if enterprise and business users pay a premium on Macs compared to cheaper Windows-based PCs.

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Mac's growth vs. the PC market growth (June 2012). Source: Gartner

(Yes, the figures quoted are from Gartner, for which we should all heed the warnings: gather around ZDNet's Ed Bott (now with 25 percent more beard!) for he has a tale of woe to tell.)

During the June quarter, U.S. Mac business shipments grew by more than 56 percent while PC sales dipped by close to 9 percent, compared to a 22 percent rise and a 4 percent decline respectively on the global scale. It goes almost without saying; we're in a new Windows version year which traditionally brings the number of PC sales down as many wait for the release of the next-generation operating system.

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Mac's unit share of the U.S. business market. Source: Gartner

Since 2008, where "something did happen" to propel Macs into the business market, Wolf believes the post-PC range of iOS-powered devices had a part to play. "The Mac will continue to grow faster than the PC market" thanks to the post-PC push by the iPhone and iPad duopoly.

Wolf said: "The next market the iPad is likely to impact is the much larger U.S. home market." It makes sense: target and invest in the not strictly the education market, but who makes up the demographics in the market, because it all-but-guarantees a more likely customer for Apple over the long term.

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