Gartner: Apple Mac grabbed 7.5% share of U.S. PC market in Q409 on 23.3% year-over-year growth

January Clearance Blowout ends 1/14Worldwide PC shipments surpassed 90 million units in the fourth quarter of 2009, a 22.1 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2008, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. It was the strongest quarter over quarter growth rate the worldwide PC market has experienced in the last seven years. It should be noted that these numbers are compared to a very weak quarter a year ago due to the economic downturn at that time.

“These preliminary results indicate the recovery of the PC market on a global level,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in the press release. “The U.S. and Asia/Pacific had already shown positive indicators last quarter, however the fourth quarter 2009 results were more concrete evidence of the recovery. The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region entered the economic downturn later than the U.S. and Asia/Pacific, so it has been slower to recover. The EMEA region returned to positive shipment growth for the first time in three quarters, and Latin America and Japan also recorded shipment increases.”

“Shipment growth was largely driven by low-priced consumer mobile PCs, both in regular notebooks and mini-notebooks. As economic weakness continued, buyers became extremely price sensitive. Low-priced PCs were good enough for many average consumers,” Ms. Kitagawa said. ”Windows 7 was launched during the fourth quarter of 2009. Though the new operating system launch did not create additional PC demand, the launch was a good market tool during holiday sales.”

HP maintained the top position in worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2009, as it grew slightly higher than the industry average. Gartner analysts said HP did very well in the U.S. market, and it regained the No. 1 position in the U.S. and EMEA.

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q09 (Thousands of Units)

Acer established itself as a leader of the sub-$500 consumer mobile PC segment in key regions. Acer’s improved branding strategies also helped it to work better with channel partners. Dell grew below the worldwide average in the fourth quarter. The company did not fully benefit from strong holiday sales. Dell was not as aggressive on pricing as its competitors in order to protect profits.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 19.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2009, a 26.5 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. Similar to worldwide trends, this was the highest quarter over quarter growth rate in the U.S. in the last seven years.

“Aggressive promotion by PC vendors and channels stimulated consumer PC demand,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “However, some vendors made damaging price cuts to increase market share.”

HP surpassed Dell as the No. 1 vendor in the U.S. based on PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2009. HP became more competitive on pricing, and teamed up successfully with large retailers. Dell struggled to retain its share in the consumer market. Dell could not win the severe price battle in the retail space, and its ongoing weakness in the large enterprise market also affected its growth rate.

Preliminary United States PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q09 (Thousands of Units)

In the fourth quarter of 2009, PC shipments in EMEA totaled 29.7 million units, a 3.6 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2008. The professional market continued to be weak, but there are indications of optimism as organizations were able to use remaining budgets to purchase PCs at the end of 2009. The mobile consumer market kept the Western Europe market going through the increased volume of mini-notebooks, with total mini-notebook shipments representing over 20 percent of the total EMEA mobile PC market.

In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments surpassed 27.1 million units, a 44.4 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2008. China was key to the region’s performance, as the country accounted for more than 61 percent of all PCs shipped in the region. Overall in the region, enterprise demand for PCs continued to be discretionary, but there was some spending to finish budgets. Companies still remain cautious in their spending rather than embark on large PC deployment projects.

The PC market in Latin America grew 42.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009. This growth rate is partly so high because of the uncharacteristically low shipments in the fourth quarter of 2008. Mini-notebook prices continue to decrease as these devices increase their share of the PC market. Recently rising commodity prices will likely spur some PC purchases among certain verticals in Latin America, as well as purchases in the home market.

PC shipments in Japan grew 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, as shipments reached 3.6 million units. The professional market grew faster than expected due to higher shipment volume in the quarter for the School New Deal project (one of the economic measures by the government to stimulate PC penetration in the education sector).

For the year, worldwide PC shipments totaled 306 million units, a 5.2 percent increase from 2008. PC shipment growth was driven by the consumer mobile PC market with acceleration of average selling prices (ASPs). HP defended its top position, while Dell was replaced by Acer as the No. 2 vendor based on shipments. HP, Acer and Toshiba all benefited from strong consumer demand.

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2009 (Thousands of Units)

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe. Additional research can be found on Gartner’s Computing Hardware section on Gartner’s Web site here.

Source: Gartner, Inc.


  1. Oh, NOES! Apple lost 0.2% Market Share! The Sky Is Falling!
    Oh, wait … Apple sold 200k more systems in the quarter than the previous quarter. Well … OK … I guess that’s “OK”. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  2. These comparisons that lump all computers into some kind of homogeneous classification are really quite useless in determining the success of a company. We all know that Apple has grown the most enviable balance sheet in the computer industry by not playing in the same commodity PC/netbook sandbox as those companies ahead of them on the market share list. I like Apple’s strategy. I like it a lot.

  3. @Laocoon & AppleJax

    Surely you are joking. You must be… The poll simply asks if a current member of the Apple board of directors should be retained. There is absolutely no reference to his former political history or his post-VP activities outside of Apple.

  4. I would suggest a different comparison. It would make more sense comparing the companies on the basis of REVENUES (or profitability) rather than units shipped. In this comparison, a single Asus $300 netbook counts the same as an Apple $5,000 Mac Pro. Clearly, that’s a silly comparison. Apple makes more money on a single Mac Pro sale than Asus makes on a boatload of Asus netbooks.

  5. No one should be surprised about a bump in low-price PC sales. PC sales were down substantially in prior quarters due largely to economic factors. Demand had also been suppressed by Vista, since many people were sticking with the aging XP, even when they chose to upgrade. Factor in the holiday season where U.S. citizens planned on spending less on gifts than in the past and have been conditioned to expect substantial discounts, and this pent-up demand naturally led to a temporary surge after the release of W7 and with the gradual improvement in the world economy. People could finally purchase the latest PC hardware and also leapfrog Vista to a reportedly decent operating system. Even Microsoft urged people not to upgrade from XP to W7.

    All of this fits together very logically. No surprises. And, despite all of these factors driving PC sales, Mac sales continued to increase at a very healthy clip. I don’t see any problems for Apple at this point.

  6. What one needs to ponder is, how is buying what. The real mindshare of computers has always been in the consumer market. Once people have a Mac at home, they will soon see how shitty Windows is. I have seen this happen countless times.

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