Apple Doing Well in U.S. Retail Channel

Apple managed to rank in the top five for U.S. retail computer and portable media player sales in March. Data from The NPD Group ranked Apple and other electronics manufacturers based on brick-and-mortar store sales only and did not include direct sales, according to Bloomberg.

In the laptop category, Apple came in at number 4 with a 9.9 percent unit share, behind Toshiba with 26.2 percent, Hewlett Packard with 23.9 percent, and Gateway at 13 percent. Compaq took fifth place with 8.5 percent.

Apple landed in fifth place in the desktop category with a 7.7 percent unit share. Hewlett Packard was first with 35 percent, Compaq was second with 16.7 percent, Gateway was third at 16.6 percent, and Emachines came in fourth with 16.4 percent.

Dell was missing from the computer sales lists for good cause: Its computer products are available through direct sales only, not traditional retail stores. Had direct sales been included in the study, the numbers would have likely been very favorable to Dell.

In the MP3 player market, Apple took the top spot with a 68.9 percent unit share for its iPod product line. Sandisk came in a distant second with 11.2 percent, Creative Labs was third with 3.6 percent, Microsoft was fourth at 2.5 percent, and Samsung took fifth place with 2.2 percent. Even in the extremely narrow scope of the NPD study, Apple still clearly held the lead in portable media player sales.

The numbers in the NPD study represent a subsection of the overall computer and MP3 player market since the focus was only on retail stores in the United States, and also excluded Wal-Mart and warehouse clubs. It does, however, show a strong consumer interest in the Mac within the limited scope of the survey.