Iconic technology giant Apple has inched its way back into the top five list of Australia's personal computer and laptop vendors, bumping out Lenovo in the third quarter of 2010 with its new line-up of MacBooks and iMacs.
According to a report published by local analyst house IDC this week, the company is now the fifth largest PC vendor in Australia, based on statistics on machines shipped in the three months to the end of September.
"Apple surprised everyone by taking back its top five spot, lost to Lenovo in the last quarter, making [the third quarter] one of its best quarters in Australia," said IDC market analyst Amy Cheah. "Lenovo's strong reliance on the NSW Digital Education Revolution Program deal had helped it gain share in the past few quarters, but the slowdown in [the third quarter] roll out to schools resulted in a drop in its market position."
The analyst noted that the success of Apple's flagship retail stores and with a "spill-over effect" from the "iPad hype", the company was well positioned to enjoy further local growth as the months roll on. In the three-month period the report tracked, some 1.4 million total units were sold in Australia — meaning Apple's share would be about 140,000 total units.
However, Apple remains a long way away from becoming the dominant computer vendor in Australia. On top of IDC's list, with 21 per cent of the Australian market, is HP. The company is closely followed by Acer, with 17 per cent, Dell, with 14 per cent, and even Toshiba, with 11 per cent.
The market as a whole for PC and laptops in Australia, according to IDC, is also still growing compared with 2009 — 16 per cent more machines were sold in the third quarter this year compared to the last.
And although a dip in sales was seen in the third quarter of this year compared with the second (which IDC said was traditional), the analyst house noted the decline was less than expected. "Vendors, in particular Acer, were pulling some pretty aggressive pricing moves in major retail stores such as Harvey Norman to attract attention back to the consumer space," said Cheah.
The shift to Intel's Core iX line-up of CPUs and Windows 7 in large organisations was also driving demand. IDC also expected the Federal Government's new whole-of-government PC panel to push demand in the public sector.
One new category of device that had the potential to impact, albeit a minimal one, on the results was the introduction of what IDC describes as "media tablets", such as the popular iPad or Samsung's Galaxy Tab.
"Widespread cannibalisation on other mobile devices is unlikely in the early stages, at least not until there is clearer understanding of the media tablets' value proposition," Cheah said. "Single function devices such as e-readers, however, may not be able to withstand the threat given their 'one-trick pony' functionality."