Mac mini and iPod boost Apple's UK sales

Analyst firm IDC says that the iPod 'halo effect', and the launch of the Mac mini have helped to grow Apple's market share in Britain

Sales of Apple computers in the UK are growing thanks to the launch of the Mac mini and the popularity of the iPod, analysts claimed on Thursday.

Research from IDC found that in the first quarter of 2005 Apple saw its shipments of desktop and notebook Macs grow by 27 percent year on year, giving it 2.2 percent of the overall UK market for computers.

"I think it's looking a lot more positive this year than last," said Ian Gibbs, an analyst at IDC. "The iPod has done a lot to promote [Apple's] name. A lot of people thought about making the switch because of the iPod and the Mac mini has done a lot to bridge the gap."

IDC said that Apple's desktop shipments grew by 45 percent in the first quarter of 2005, compared to the same period last year, giving it a market share of two percent. Notebook growth was nine percent in the same period, giving Apple a market share of 2.7 percent.

"There's not the equivalent of the Mac mini in the notebook range," added Gibbs. The Mac mini was launched back in January, and won praise for its small form factor and price — starting at £339.

The analyst said the overall PC market had grown by 14.8 percent in the first quarter of the year.

Outpacing Apple's sales growth, the overall shipment of notebooks grew by 29.8 year on year, as prices have lowered and stimulated sales to business and consumers.

"In comparison to the commercial markets, it was consumer demand that really drove growth in [the first quarter]," said Gibbs. "Despite a slight slowdown in retail sales in February and early March, strong post-Christmas sales in January contributed a great deal towards stimulating demand."