IDC U.S. shipment figures put Apple in third place

In a bold display, Apple surged past Acer to become the U.S.’s third-biggest computer vendor last quarter… according to IDC’s latest shipment figures, that is. Rival market research firm Gartner still has Acer ahead in its own quarterly report. That disagreement shouldn’t put a damper on celebrations for Apple stockholders, though, because both research firms do agree that the Mac maker’s share is a hair’s breadth from Acer’s.

Here are IDC’s figures for the U.S. market:

Vendor Q3 2009 share Q3 2010 share Shipment growth
HP 24.6% 24.3% 2.7%
Dell 25.2% 23.1% -4.9%
Apple 8.9% 10.6% 24.1%
Acer 10.7% 10.3% 0.1%
Toshiba 7.8% 8.4% 11.6%

And here are Gartner’s:

Vendor Q3 2009 share Q3 2010 share Shipment growth
HP 25.4% 25.3% 2.0%
Dell 25.8% 23.8% -5.8%
Acer 13.6% 10.5% -21.0%
Apple 9.3% 10.4% 13.7%
Toshiba 8.3% 9.3% 14.2%

Apple has indeed made quite a leap compared to last year. Funnily enough, the Mac maker pulled off a similar feat in the third quarter of 2007, squeezing into third place by Gartner’s count—but that surge in popularity didn’t last. (Acer happened to purchase Gateway right around the same time.)

IDC and Gartner concur on several other points this quarter. For one, HP reclaimed the top spot from Dell. Also, global shipment growth in the third quarter was below expectations, and U.S. growth was particularly slow (both research companies blame weak consumer demand). IDC recorded a 3.8% year-over-year increase in the states, while Gartner estimates an even tamer 2.2%—both considerably below the double-digit growth seen in the second quarter.

Comments closed
    • End User
    • 9 years ago

    Reply fail

    • End User
    • 9 years ago

    For the past two years I have been supporting a mix of Windows and Mac OS X systems at work (Linux on the server side). We recently decided upon a single desktop OS strategy. Mac OS X won out (by a landslide) and we have now completed our transition to quad core 27″ iMacs with 8GB of memory (sweet!). Windows XP/7 has been relegated to VMs for QA purposes.

      • blastdoor
      • 9 years ago

      That is awesome — I’m jealous.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        BLASTOOIISSSSEEEEE!!!!

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      We had the same discussion and PC won out overwhelmingly. We also still get bonuses instead of work toysg{<.<}g 🙂

        • End User
        • 9 years ago

        What a coincidence! We get bonuses as well. 😛

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        We have all PCs and no bonuses.

      • pdjblum
      • 9 years ago

      If you are so into Apple black boxes, why would you waste your time on a site that explores all the wonderful hardware that can be used to build or upgrade windows based pc’s? Maybe if your company bought or built high quality pc’s with Win7 installed, the users might have a different sentiment? For those of us who have always built and upgraded their own pc’s, it is hard to understand what the allure of an Apple box is, especially now that Microsoft has finally developed a great op sys in Win7.

        • runithard
        • 9 years ago

        Some people like to pay more.

        • End User
        • 9 years ago

        l[

          • pdjblum
          • 9 years ago

          I have built many boxes and installed linux distros on them. I didn’t know I could install apple os’s on my own build. I am obviously a “fanboi” and an idiot.

            • End User
            • 9 years ago

            l[

        • blastdoor
        • 9 years ago

        I used to build my own PCs. Then the value of my time started to rise and it became substantially less appealing.

        Can’t speak for anyone else, but I continue to visit TechReport because I like reading about technology. There’s a lot on here that I don’t read anymore, but some I do. Stories about Intel, ARM, AMD, Apple, Nvidia, SSDs — these are all interesting to me. Stories about coolers and cases — not so much.

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          PIIIIKKKKKAAAAAA!!!!!

        • Decelerate
        • 9 years ago

        Speak for yourself.

        Currently building a rig (Waiting for the 18th to see if AMD releases the 6*** gen to complete the components), but I definitely know what makes Apple’s computers so attractive.

        • Voldenuit
        • 9 years ago

        OS X does have advantages. For one thing, its power management is much better than Windows. Anandtech just tested a 13″ MBP with Bootcamp, and it lasted 10 hrs under OSX and 5 hrs under win 7. Before anyone claims that this is because of firmware and power management driver issues under windows, the 5 hr result was in line with comparable windows laptops with similar size batteries.

        I don’t like Apple*. I don’t like the user subculture of adoration inmixed with snobbishness, I don’t like their corporate behaviour (especially with regards to patents and corporate blackmail), and I don’t like the lack of customization options offered to their customers – which to me denotes a level of disregard and contempt for their users.

        But they do make some great hardware/software.

        * Frankly, Microsoft isn’t much better, so I can hardly claim the moral high ground here though.

      • WaltC
      • 9 years ago

      Good for you, guy! Let the Bootcamping commence….;) No, that would be sad to see, since your copies of OS X probably cost you >$1,000 each in terms of the premiums you paid on your hardware. You do know, hopefully, that the only real differences between “Macs and PCs” is OS X, and of course the premiums you pay Apple for your hardware…?

      I read an article the other day buy a long-time Mac user who decided to build himself a “Hackintosh” and who was surprised at how easy it was to do these days–and who lamented that for the same $5,000 he could spend on a Mac Pro he could get the same or better hardware elsewhere and he’d have saved about $2500! Pretty much, you can see why Apple ties OS X to the sale of its own Apple hardware, can’t you? I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’d ever pay a premium of $2500 just to sit down in front of an OS X boot screen….;) I’m certainly not advocating that anyone waste his time on a Hackintosh, it’s just difficult for me to see why anyone would waste his time and money buying a Mac at all these days.

        • End User
        • 9 years ago

        l[

          • runithard
          • 9 years ago

          r[

            • WaltC
            • 9 years ago

            Yes, that was a strange response, wasn’t it?….;) In other posts to other people in this thread, the guy claims that he regularly builds his own machines–and if so, why wouldn’t he know that there just isn’t any material difference between Apple-branded computer hardware and everybody-else branded computer hardware? He’s got to know he’s paying a huge premium for the privilege of running OS X–if everything else he said was entirely accurate, that is. There’s no getting around that.

            It’s really kind of a dead giveaway, though, as to how much people really know about other platforms when they say things like, “I think my Windows box is great for running games,” and so on. If the people who made such statements were aware that there’s nothing an OS X Mac can do better than an identically configured Win7 PC, and nothing that the OS X box can do that a Win7 box just can’t do at all–then they’d automatically know that the big plus for the “PC” is how well the environment handles games, too. Apple’s never given more than lip service to support an OS X gaming environment, and it shows…

            • End User
            • 9 years ago

            I did mention that Windows 7 was a fine OS. I personally don’t have any reason beyond gaming to run it as a primary OS. I can boot a Windows 7 VM easily enough under Mac OS X/Linux if I need to.

            The key point that you, and many others, are missing/ignoring is that Apple’s products do add value. It goes beyond spec and it goes beyond price. You and many others don’t put the same/any value on that. I and many others do. Lets leave it at that.

            • End User
            • 9 years ago

            r[

        • Corrado
        • 9 years ago

        No, they really didn’t. Build a Core i5 machine, include a copy of an OS (Windows 7), and a 2056×1440 27″ IPS LCD. Tell me if you can do it, with matching hardware, for $1700.

          • paulWTAMU
          • 9 years ago

          Only relevant if I want an AIO, which I don’t–specifically because I buy a good monitor and use it through several machines. It’s also assuming each user cares about that particular feature.

          The issue is not that Mac’s are super expensive for what they are, but rather that there’s not a ton of choices. No mid-range tower for instance…yes, the iMac’s are price competitive for what they are, but what they are makes them unappealing to a lot of us. The pro is the same way; I just don’t want to spent 2500 on a machine, even if it is a decent price for what you get.
          Honestly, the mini and the macbook are the only ones I’d call over priced out of their lineup; the MacBook Pro, the iMac and Mac Pro are OK compared to similar products but it’s just really narrow choice.

          I understand what Apple’s doing there–at least I think I do–and it works for them, but it’ll always limit their market share a bit.

          edit: Actually, looking at what the 2500 Pro comes with yeah that I’d consider over priced too. Oh well :-/ I mean it’s got some nice perks (like the case) but…

            • End User
            • 9 years ago

            I got tired of waiting for Apple to release a consumer tower so I built a quad core rig to run Ubuntu x64.

            • adisor19
            • 9 years ago

            Why not hackintosh it instead ?

            Adi

            • End User
            • 9 years ago

            1) Ubuntu is a great OS
            2) There is no fun in limiting yourself to one OS/platform
            3) Job security (knowledge is power)

          • End User
          • 9 years ago

          All-in-one with HD and SSD?

    • glynor
    • 9 years ago

    Sigh… Reply fail.

    • Da_Boss
    • 9 years ago

    Wow. With market share at 10%, I can only imagine what their profit share is. I’d guess it’s in the 40-50% range.

    Whatever way you slice it, Apple certainly has capitalized on Microsoft’s tardiness to market with a strong OS offering like W7. More importantly, they’ve capitalized on what’s really wrong with the PC business: terrible vendors. and their terrible computers.

    Is it really so hard for PC vendors to understand what people see in Apple Computers?

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      They don’t need to understand. Obviously, they just need to inundate us with moar cheapar s***.

      I noticed the other day that Dell doesn’t seem to offer the RGB LED screen upgrade on their high end laptops anymore, even though they’re still selling the same platform/models that was an option for in the past. It’s just going to keep getting worse until literally every laptop is an indistinguishable piece of junk.

      I do kind of like those new brushed aluminum HP Probooks and they’re reasonably priced with lots of different CPU choices and do dads…but they’re also missing screen options some of the other models had, and if you don’t buy an overpriced customized one, no 9 cell battery for you.

      It amazes me how much pointless crap they’ll tack on as standard, but nobody can just give you a decent screen and battery. It seems like those would be the biggest advertising points of all. Almost nobody buying a laptop cares if it’s 2.2 GHz or 2.4 GHz or whatever. Who can tell? But who wouldn’t care if there’s a big sticker on it saying the battery lasts 8 hours instead of 4, and you can see plain as day that the image quality of the monitor is better?

      Screw that, we’re going to cover it in gloss and tell you all about how “fast” surfing the internets is with DDR3!

        • Voldenuit
        • 9 years ago

        l[

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 9 years ago

          My point was that there aren’t any better screens. As time goes on, they are fading from existence altogether.

          How could supply be constrained when pretty much every single desktop monitor is universally better than every single laptop monitor, while the laptop monitors are smaller and easier to mass produce?

          As for the batteries, I’ve actually seen quite a few cheap laptops at Best Buy with 12 cell batteries. At one point it was standard for Asus to use 8 cell batteries in their laptops. The problem is that there’s no consistency. Today, if look at some “nice” laptops, and they typically have not only what they call a “6 cell” battery, but with only a 40w capacity. It’s really more like a 4 cell battery. Wtf?!?

          Lithium-ion battery manufacturing is an exploding industry and prices for small batteries are falling like a rock. There have been huge production increases brought about by the popularity of hybrid cars and the expected interest in electric cars. That doesn’t begin to explain why paying more for a laptop gets you a smaller battery.

          What it comes down to is that the manufacturers just don’t care. They don’t want to even make an attempt at taking Apple’s position. They just want to sell cheap junk, even to people who don’t want it, by making it appear to be the standard with a squillion “options” that are all on the same level.

            • ludi
            • 9 years ago

            Probably because laptop sales are more than half the total PC market these days, and people price-shop them to the bone. At some point the laptop market will saturate, and then the vendors will have to go back to differentiating by features and pricepoints…at which point higher-quality screens could make a comeback.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            I agree with onearmed. the fact is, nobody’s providing a good screen. Whilst apple does, I don’t necessarily believe that the sales they’re garnering are due to “better screens” as much as “better marketing and brand loyalty”. I’m not sure that we’ll ever see it diversify as much as you might like. I think whilst tn panels might not be as good as ips, they’re good enough for most people. and when it’s good enough for most people, people want cheap.

      • glynor
      • 9 years ago

      According to /[http://www.asymco.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Screen-shot-2010-09-21-at-9-21-12.34.24-PM.png<]§ It graphs the profit share of the global smartphone market, starting with the introduction of the iPhone.

      • KoolAidMan
      • 9 years ago

      Profit margins on Macs are closer to 20%. Things like the 27″ iMac have displays that are otherwise sold for $1100 by Dell, and the Mac Pros have Xeons that cost north of $1000 if you wanted to get them from Newegg.

      Apple’s high margin items are things like iPhones, iPods, and iPads. The BOM on those are roughly half the cost of the product itself, much better than you’d get with a normal computer.

      • blastdoor
      • 9 years ago

      l[

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        studies suggest that apple controls 90% of the over 1000$ laptop market.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    PSSSHHH this whole thing is a joke. Apple’s stock is based on faboyism, and won’t be sustained. just like in the 90’s. Anybody who actually does anything real with their computers use a PC. It’s common knowledge.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Main sweatshopking turn on!

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        actually… you’re my main turn on… meow!

      • Corrado
      • 9 years ago

      I guess all those movie producers that use Final Cut Pro don’t do anything real.

        • ludi
        • 9 years ago

        Saw the bait and didn’t notice the hook, eh?

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        YOU GOT IT!!!

    • tay
    • 9 years ago

    I am hopeful that Apple stabilizes around 10-20%. This would provide good competition for MS as well as keep me happy with OSX software. Look how good Windows 7 is and it took 10 years because Apple was nearly dead and there was no competition. (Typing on my Win7 desktop).

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    The disparity between the Acer results in the two leave me to question the whole dataset…

      • Corrado
      • 9 years ago

      2 tenths of a percent is a ‘disparity’? I’d tend to call it margin of error.

        • spiritwalker2222
        • 9 years ago

        21% difference in shipment growth? That can’t be overlooked. One or both of these statements is erroneous.

          • cygnus1
          • 9 years ago

          Exactly, Acer market share dropped 0.4% in one set and 3.6% in the other, that’s a huge disparity

      • glynor
      • 9 years ago

      IDC and Gartner are both market research firms, which generate their numbers using wildly different, proprietary, and thoroughly secret methods. Of COURSE they don’t match.

      In fact, if they DID match perfectly, it would suggest corruption and manipulation.

      ALL market research generated numbers should be taken with a large dose of salt. They are just like polling firms. They have their own internal statistical biases and flaws, but taken together, they can help to paint a picture of the real market situation.

        • ludi
        • 9 years ago

        That’s insufficient. Proprietary or not, a real number of units were shipped and both agencies are claiming to have counted them as a proportion of total market space (as reported in the “Qx 20xx share” columns).

        For the most part, both of their results generally agree to within about 1% of each other, which seems reasonable for different industry sources and estimating methodologies. However, in Q3 2009, there’s a significant disparity in the market share assigned to Acer. Ergo, one or both of these agencies has bad data for Acer in Q3 2009.

          • glynor
          • 9 years ago

          I think you misunderstand how market research numbers work.

          IDC and Gartner cannot actually “count the shipments” (only the manufacturers have those numbers). They make estimates of the shipments based on surveys of select retail stores, interviews with suppliers, surveys of end-users, and a variety of other techniques. They absolutely do not “regularly match within 1% of each other” in all cases. Now, I’d agree that this is a large-ish discrepancy, but that isn’t unheard of by any means. In fact, for Q4 2009, Gartner estimated Acer’s year over year shipment growth at 41.5%, while IDC called it 27.9%. My guess is that they have different mechanisms for estimating Acer’s unit shipments, and that something specific about Acer, their retail outlets, or their supply vendors makes estimations of their unit shipments difficult.

          I’m not arguing that one of them doesn’t have bad data or estimates of Acer’s numbers. I’d argue that BOTH of them have some mixture of bad data and good data, and that they do the best they can. You cannot ascribe any more statistical certainty to these numbers than you can to your average weekly political poll (and you can’t always believe the numbers put out by manufacturers, because those are released for PR reasons, and they aren’t going to tell you bad things if they can help it). Actually, market research numbers are usually worse than polling numbers, because at least with polls, they typically publish a semi-standard margin of error figure.

          That’s why companies (particularly Apple) manage to “beat Wall Street expectations” sometimes. What that means is that they are outperforming the market analysis done by firms like IDC and Gartner.

            • ludi
            • 9 years ago

            Slow down:

            /[

      • WaltC
      • 9 years ago

      Main thing to remember about the data set is that it is woefully incomplete. This data only concerns US market share for the quarter–Apple did, as it always does each quarter, far more poorly when the entire world market share for the quarter, including US market share, is tabulated. Apple’s share of the whole market, not just the US, was 3.6% during the quarter. As has been true as far back as I can remember, > 19 out of every 20 computers sold in the world each quarter are not running OS X and not made by Apple.

      §[<http://community.winsupersite.com/blogs/paul/archive/2010/04/20/mac-q1-2010-pc-market-share-3-6-percent.aspx<]§

    • BlackStar
    • 9 years ago

    Pathetic.

    • codedivine
    • 9 years ago

    Interesting figures. In the world shipment rankings, Apple is not in the top 5 though. In world shipments both IDC and Gartner have the following top 6 rankings: HP, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Toshiba.

      • WaltC
      • 9 years ago

      Yes, Apple’s worldwide market share in the sale of computers has “risen” to a whopping 3.6%, from it’s general norm of ~2.5%.

      §[<http://community.winsupersite.com/blogs/paul/archive/2010/04/20/mac-q1-2010-pc-market-share-3-6-percent.aspx<]§ The Mac's strongest market has always been the US, while in some countries the Mac has still to break the 1% share mark. Typically, that's why the U.S. market share figures are trumpeted by Apple aficionados, and the rest of the world is ignored. The RDF at work....;)

        • Corrado
        • 9 years ago

        I’m pretty sure Apple also spends most of its marketing dollars, and has the most retail stores in the USA. They don’t TRY to sell anything but phones, ipods and ipads outside of the US for the most part.

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