Apple's Mac Gains Share as U.S. PC Sales Drop

Apple gained market share in the U.S. PC market, according to preliminary Q3 numbers from research firm IDC, but it did so by seeing its own Mac sales decline less than the rest of the market. In the U.S., PC sales declined 13.8 percent year-over-year, but Apple's Mac sales were off by 6.1 percent, a showing good enough to keep its third place ranking and jump from 12.5 percent of the market to 13.6 percent.

"A continuing slowdown in consumer PC shipments played a big part in the overall PC market decline," Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, wrote in IDC's report. "The third quarter was also a transitional quarter before Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system release, so shipments were less vigorous as vendors and their channel partners liquidated inventory.

In the U.S., HP retained its first place ranking, while Dell remained firmly in second place. Both companies saw sharp dropoffs in year-over-year sales, however, and both firms lost share to Apple and Lenovo, the Chinese PC firm. Lenovo was the only brand to show year-over-year unit shipment increases, and the company's share grew from 7.2 percent to 8.9 percent.

The following chart illustrates the PC industry's sharp year-over-year declines in unit shipments:

Q3 U.S. PC Shipments

(Unit Shipments in Thousands)
Chart by The Mac Observer from IDC data

Apple had outgrown the PC market for 25 consecutive quarters through the June quarter of 2012, a streak that would end now, according to IDC's numbers. Still, it will be the 26th consecutive quarter where Apple has taken share away from its PC rivals, it simply did so by showing less of a decline this time.

The following chart shows the top six vendors in the U.S., plus "Others" for Q3 2012:

Q3 U.S. PC Market Share

Chart by The Mac Observer from IDC data


Apple still isn't large enough to crack the top five in global PC sales, but let's look anyway. Worldwide shipments of PCs came in at 87.5 million units during the quarter. That's down 8.2 percent, a better showing than in the U.S.

Significantly, Lenovo took over the top spot for the first time during the quarter. IDC said that Lenovo sold 13.7 million PCs around the world during quarter, up from 12.5 million units in 2011. Number two HP, third place Dell, and fourth place Acer all saw declining sales. Fifth place Asus was the only other company in the top five to sell more PCs year over year, outgrowing even Lenovo in percentage terms.

IDC said that Lenovo has been aggressive on its pricing, especially in the pro market, and that its strategy of buying up smaller companies has been paying off. Lenovo's advancement through the ranks of PC makers has been swift, tireless, and non-stop.