Apple Computer shipped 25 percent more Macs in the UK in the last quarter of 2003 than the previous year, according to marketing intelligence firm IDC. An analyst for the company believes consumer interest in Appleis iPod portable music player helped to spotlight its Macintosh PC and benefited sales.
For the full year, Apple had a 7.5 percent growth giving the company a 2.3 percent market share overall in the UK. Desktop shipments declined 8 percent while notebook shipments of the PowerBook and iBook grew 40 percent.
"The numbers were strong for Apple in the quarter and the year overall wasnit bad either," research analyst Ian Gibbs told The Mac Observer from London. "10 percent year-on-year growth was seen in desktop shipments and 50 percent in notebooks. Apple also experienced growth in both the consumer and the commercial PC markets."
The healthy jump in fourth-quarter shipments gave Apple a market share of 2.2 percent. A year ago, Apple shipments had declined three percent, leaving it with a market share of 2.1 percent.
While the dramatic rise in shipments would seem to bear out a bigger jump in market share, Gibbs said other Windows-based PC makers had even bigger increases in units shipped, offsetting Appleis numbers. Hewlett-Packard saw 32.7 percent year-on-year growth for a first place standing, followed by Dell with a 25.6 percent surge for second place overall. On average, year-to-year growth for PC manufacturers was up 16.9 percent.
Overall industry growth in desktops and notebooks was also just as healthy as the numbers from Apple. For all vendors, laptop sales grew 28.2 percent, but desktop sales grew 11.6 percent while Appleis desktop numbers declined eight percent.
So what was the catalyst for Appleis rosy fourth-quarter? "I think you have to give much of the increase in Mac sales to sales, interest and buzz to the iPod," Gibbs said. "I think people were interested in the product from a personal perspective and then became more interested in their Mac systems, especially their portables...The key is for Apple to keep this momentum for iPod going."
Gibbs noted that his opinion that iPods helped overall Mac sales was based more on his professional opinion of the market and not based on actual shipment numbers of iPods in the UK.
Gibbs also feels that while UK Apple dealers are doing a good job selling Macs and iPods, the addition of Apple retail stores in the UK could do nothing but help exposure. "I think itis only a matter of time before they open a store in the London area and I think it will help them to grow exposure. A trendy Apple store in a trendy city like London will be a big hit and they know it. Now, would it make a big difference in market share? Thatis tough to say, but I think it would be a benefit."