Mac penetration rising, especially in affluent households

Macs are growing in popularity, but they tend to cohabitate with other systems and devices more than PCs, according to a new NPD study quoted by AppleInsider. The study says Mac penetration in U.S. households has increased from 9% last year to 12% in 2009, yet a whopping 85% of Mac homes also play host to Windows-based machines.

Mac households tend to have more computers overall—66% of them have "three or more" systems, compared to only 29% of Windows-only homes—and more notebooks, as well—72% vs. 50%. Even gadgets are more popular among Mac households, with 63% including iPods and almost two thirds having digital SLR cameras.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out the link: Macs are simply more popular among wealthier users. AppleInsider quotes NPD's Stephen Baker as saying, "There is . . . a high correlation among Apple owners and more affluent consumer households." The numbers confirm that conclusion: 36% of Mac households earn more than $100,000 a year, but only 21% of Windows-only households do.

With prices for Mac laptops starting at $999, it's no surprise Apple isn't getting more love from consumers with shallower pockets. That situation could change soon, though; recent reports suggest Apple may be on the verge of introducing new, cheaper MacBooks and iMacs.

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