Apple's Mac unit sales rose in the December quarter of 2009, but the company saw a somewhat rare year-over-year decrease in market share, according to a report published by research firm Gartner. The firm said that Apple sold some 1.483 million Macs in the U.S. during the quarter, a 23.3% increase over the prior year and enough to keep Apple in the Top 5, but market share slipped from 7.7% to 7.5%, and Apple dipped to one spot to be the #5 computer maker in the market.
HP retained the top spot in the U.S. with 5.96 million PCs sold - a 45% increase year-over-year - and 30% market share, and Dell was #2 with 4.48 million units and 22.6% share. Dell's increase was a modest 5.5%. As strong as HP's growth was in the quarter, however, Toshiba grew U.S. unit sales 70.7%, and passed Apple to become the #4 vendor in the U.S. with 8.7% market share. Acer grew sales 48.4%, and had 15.6 market share.
Preliminary United States PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q09 (Thousands of Units)
Table courtesy of Gartner
As usual, Apple didn't break the Top 5 on the global market, where HP retained its #1 spot with 17.79 million PCs sold and 19.8% market share. Acer overtook Dell to become the #2 PC vendor on the planet with 12.19 million units sold and 13.5% market share. Dell was #3 with 11.5% market share, Lenova #4 with 8.7%, and Toshiba with 5.3% global market share.
"These preliminary results indicate the recovery of the PC market on a global level," Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "The U.S. and Asia/Pacific had already shown positive indicators last quarter, however the fourth quarter 2009 results were more concrete evidence of the recovery."
As has been the case for the last several quarter, it was low-priced, low-profit laptops and netbooks that drove unit growth, a space Apple doesn't compete in, even though Apple showed strong unit growth.
"As economic weakness continued, buyers became extremely price sensitive," Ms. Kitagawa said. "Low-priced PCs were good enough for many average consumers."
Windows 7, according to Gartner, did not create additional demand during the quarter, but did serve as a "good marketing tool" for retailers.