Apple trumped by HP, Acer in laptop sales gains in Q4

Customers may have delayed buying ahead of MacWorld

Although Apple's climb in computer market share has been largely fuelled by its laptop lineup, other PC makers have done even better at boosting global laptop sales, according to a research firm.

Based on total units sold, HP led all laptop vendors, with a 20 per cent market share in the fourth quarter of 2006, the director of notebook market research at DisplaySearch, John Jacobs, said. Dell was second (15 per cent) and Acer held down third (13.3).

Apple, meanwhile, accounted for 4.1 per cent of all portable computer sales.

In other metrics, Apple did much poorer. The laptop PC market overall grew by 14.4 per cent in the fourth quarter over the third, but Apple's laptop sales actually dipped 2 per cent. HP's and Acer's portable sales, however, both surged 29 per cent quarter over quarter, and Sony did even better, boosting unit sales by 40 per cent. Sales at the struggling Dell slipped 2 per cent, and it was outsold in the quarter by HP to the tune of 1.2 million laptops.

Although the calendar fourth quarter is historically a down time for Apple -- it does its best business earlier in the year, during back-to-school sales season -- Jacobs also cited the uncertainty buyers faced as 2006 came to a close.

"Apple has an extremely loyal customer base and with MacWorld [approaching], people waited until [CEO] Steve [Jobs] announced at MacWorld [to decide if new systems would be available]", Jacobs said. Unlike in early 2006, however, when Jobs used MacWorld to debut the first Intel-based Macs, this year he touted the upcoming iPhone instead of computer hardware.

Other factors against Apple, Jacobs said, included a boom in laptop sales in the developing market, particularly India and China. Apple has long been strongest in the North American, Japanese and European markets, and weak in other areas. In the quarter that ended December 31, for instance, Apple's other segments category accounted for only 7 per cent of CPU sales.

"Look at the price points," Jacobs said. "Entry-level [Macs] are expensive compared to entry-level machines from Dell or HP or anyone else. Price is a very simple thing to convey, but it's more difficult to convey, 'Yeah, but Mac has OS X and a built-in camera and a great design.'"

It's conceivable that Apple could do well in new markets in the future, argued Jacobs, especially in China. "Long-term, I can see them doing well there, for a variety of reasons. BMW, for example, doesn't sell its Series 3 in China. Buyers want the 5 or 7 series. They don't want the entry level; they want to show off their wealth. And with Apple's attention to detail and design, they could do very well."

Apple does lead rival computer makers in one laptop benchmark, Jacobs said: It was the first to break the 50-50 barrier of desktops sold versus portables. "Apple has led that trend over the last five years," he said. "Now it's roughly a 60-40 split [favouring notebooks]. The industry as a whole is at 60-40, desktops. We don't expect the 50-50 mark overall to come until about 2009."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?