Apple’s Mac business has been growing steadily pretty much everywhere, especially in China. The United States has long been Apple’s #1 market, but that’s not to say the Mac doesn’t keep on chugging along in other markets as well. According to Gartner, Apple in Western Europe grew Mac sales 19.6 percent in the third quarter of 2011.

At the same time, rival Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer Group all lost ground, with the exception of Asus (their sales were up 20.3 percent). Apple sold 1.13 million Macintoshes in the Western Europe region during the third quarter for a 7.6 percent market share, up over a 5.7 percent share just a year ago. In the United Kingdom, only Apple and Samsung grew sales by 21.8 percent and 39.0 percent, respectively as everyone else fell miserably.

The result earned Apple the #5 spot in the UK computer market for a 7.8 percent market share, narrowly escaping Samsung which had a 7.5 percent share of the UK market during the third quarter. It’s interesting that Samsung is now chasing Apple in the UK in terms of computer sales. Expect to see this trend elsewhere as the South Korean conglomerate increasingly turns its attention to the PC market.

Research director Ranjit Atwal said “the market seems to be moving at three speeds”, while principal analyst Meike Escherich offered an explanation behind the otherwise weak PC shipments in Western Europe:

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs. Media Tablets are excluded | Source: Gartner (November 2011)

The PC industry continued to perform below normal seasonality. The results in the third quarter of 2011 make unpleasant reading for the PC industry, as the third quarter is traditionally a strong consumer quarter, driven by back-to-school sales. […] The share of mini-notebooks continues to decline, which contributed to the weak year-on-year comparison. Moreover, the consumer PC markets in Western Europe remained essentially weak, with consumer confidence permanently shaken by the economic issues spreading across most of the region.

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs. Media tablets are excluded | Source: Gartner (November 2011)

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