Can these figures (also see bottom) be right? I mean yes it’s amazing Dell is tanking and where it is leaving the bargain basement PC market, HP is picking things up. Amazing is the wrong word. Boring is what I was looking for. 

The strange thing for me is that Apple is only at 5.6 percent.  Yes, Apple’s market share is increasing year over year at three times the industry average – which seems like very good news.  However, the 5.6% figure seems incredibly low considering my day to day observations.  I recently took a road trip from New York to Milwaukee with long stops in Cleveland and Chicago.  I saw Macintosh everywhere.  Even at rest stops along the highway.  A Cleveland Starbucks had three Macs for every PC and the AppleStore there was hopping (and this was pre-iPhone).  One of my parent’s friends had just got a Mac (and was of course asking for help with it).  In Chicago, the French Consulate had just rolled out Macs in the waiting area.  My wife’s family is like 95% Mac now where they had only PCs four years ago.  OK, I may have had something to do with that.  But Best Buy and what’s left of CompUSA are slanging Macintoshes like there is no tomorrow.

The global market, where Apple didn’t make the top five vendors and is probably sitting at 3%, is no different.  I work for an international governing body in Paris.  Sure, our office is mostly standardized on commodity PCs (yours truly, the Big Boss and one designer holdout notwithstanding).  However, more than a few employees including most of the management and IT staff use Macs at home and more frequently those machines are coming to work.

So what gives?

  1. Perhaps Macs are more visible?  People put their Macs on display and flaunt them whereas they seem to hide their PCs in the basement or in the closets.  Design is a big factor here.  How many offices have flashy new iMacs at the front of the office or with the receptionist but are running commodity machines in the back?
  2. Apple seems to have a much higher market share in the laptop market, where people tend to bring their computers with them and what other people tend to see more of.  I think Apple is at over 12 percent in the US, which is more than double its overall percentage.  Laptops are brought with people to lunches, airports, meetings, friends houses after school, college class, etc. etc. 
  3. Apple is strong in Education.  There is a lot of mixing and mingling in the education world so there are a lot more eyeballs on Macs porportionately speaking.  Also high school and college kids are “out there” in the cafes, coffee shops and libraries.  Those kids are also the trend setters so what they do often get noticed more than your average Joe on the street.  As an example, my Master’s degree program was 90% Mac.  So much so that the people with PCs were sometimes embarrassed to be using them.
  4. Hollywood has always been Mac-addicted – to the point that I do a doubletake whenever I see a PC on the screen.  This has been the case since Seinfeld had the Mac and bizarro Jerry had the PC.  So perhaps my brain is factoring all of these views into my calculation of real life figures.
  5. Apple advertises like crazy.  Mostly iPods and iPhones obviously but still, seeing that Apple logo everywhere has to be messing with my mind.
  6. Speaking of iPhones, do they count?  What about the new iPods?  They will all run OSX, right?  80GB of storage?  That’s a high end PC a few years ago.  Probably not.  But those things are everywhere! 
  7. I am mostly in Apple’s strongholds.  Most of my time is spent in Paris – a city with an abnormally high priority on aesthetics and art.   The results of my super-informal study are limited to my immediate surroundings – typically IT savvy, urban, liberal, big city with the 20-35 year old crowd.  I have the same issue finding George Bush voters too – but that is for another website.
      

So I guess 5.6% of the US PC market is good.  Most likely Apple will soon be the #3 (#1 in my heart Apple – who loves ya?!) computer maker behind HP and Dell as they have almost surpassed Gateway and are on a upward trajectory.   The world is catching on too.  Apple Stores are opening all around the World and more and more people are being exposed to this ridiculously great alternative to Windows.  

Will Apple’s market share ever meet the shadow it casts over the industry?  Probably not, I guess it depends  who is counting.

Top 6 Vendors, United States PC Shipments*, Second Quarter 2007 (Preliminary) (Units Shipments are in thousands)

Rank

Vendor

2Q07

Shipments

Market

Share

2Q06

Shipments

Market

Share

2Q07/2Q06

Growth

1

Dell

4,854

28.4%

5,437

34.1%

-10.7%

2

HP

4,023

23.6%

3,193

20.0%

26.0%

3

Gateway

965

5.6%

1,039

6.5%

-7.1%

4

Apple

960

5.6%

761

4.8%

26.2%

5

Toshiba

901

5.3%

600

3.8%

50.0%

6

Acer

888

5.2%

337

2.1%

163.8%

Others

4,492

26.3%

4,569

28.7%

-1.7%

All Vendors

17,083

100.0%

15,936

100.0%

7.2%

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