Gartner: Apple Mac grabbed 12.9% share of U.S. PC market in Q311

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 91.8 million units in the third quarter of 2011, a 3.2 percent increase from the third quarter of 2010, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. These results are slightly lower than Gartner’s earlier projection of 5.1 percent growth for the quarter. The EMEA region contributed to lower-than-expected growth led by a weak Western European market.

“The inventory buildup, which slowed growth the last four quarters, mostly cleared out during the third quarter of this year; however, the PC industry has been performing below normal seasonality,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “As expected, back-to-school PC sales were disappointing in mature markets, confirming that the consumer PC market continues to be weak. The popularity of non-PC devices, including media tablets, such as the iPad and smartphones, took consumers’ spending away from PCs.

“As the PC market faced a slowdown, vendor consolidation has become a more apparent trend in the industry. Lenovo’s recent merger with NEC, and its acquisition of Medion, as well as HP’s announcement that it may spin off or sell its PC business, underlined this trend during the quarter.”

HP, the No. 1 vendor based on global PC shipments, grew faster than the industry average, and its market share reached 17.7 percent in the third quarter of 2011 (see Table 1). Despite announcing in the middle of 2Q11 the potential spinoff of its PC business, HP experienced strong growth in the U.S., while outside the U.S., growth was relatively weak or average.

Lenovo became the second-largest PC vendor in the worldwide market for the first time. The company’s expansion was boosted in part by the joint vendor with NEC in Japan. However, its aggressive marketing to both the professional and consumer PC markets accelerated its shipment volume.

Table 1
Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q11 (Units)

Gartner: Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q11 (Units)

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad. Final estimates will be subject to change.
Lenovo shipments include NEC shipments, but not Medion’s shipments. Source: Gartner (October 2011)

Dell’s performance was below the industry average in most regions, as the company faced intensified competition in the professional space, where Dell has been traditionally strong. Acer mostly cleared its inventory buildup in the EMEA region by the third quarter of 2011. However, channels have been adopting a conservative position in regard to placing orders following the inventory issues. Asus widened the gap with Toshiba, the sixth-largest vendor. Asus achieved strong growth in China.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 17.8 million units in the third quarter of 2011, a 1.1 percent increase from the third quarter of 2010. The U.S. PC market experienced year-over-year growth for the first time in three quarters. While the consumer market continued to be weak with disappointing back-to-school sales in the third quarter, the inventory was kept mostly in check as industry expectations were relatively low.

“The main contributor to the weak consumer PC market in the U.S. was intensified competition for consumers’ money,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Media tablets and smartphones took center stage in the U.S. retail sector, and the expectation is for continuing demand for these devices throughout the holiday season.”

HP showed strong growth in the U.S. PC market, as shipments increased 15.1 percent in the third quarter, and its market share totaled 28.9 percent (see Table 2). Despite the potential spinoff of its PC business, HP executives’ efforts to give the appearance of “business as usual” seemed to work in the quarter.

Dell struggled as shipments declined 7.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011. “Dell’s issue has been balancing profitability and market share gain, a difficult task in a PC industry where high volumes and low margins are the norm,” Ms. Kitagawa said.

Gartner’s early study shows that Apple experienced the strongest growth among the top five vendors in the U.S. PC market. Apple’s PC shipments increased 21.5 percent in the third quarter of 2011. The robust growth of the MacBook Air continued to lead Apple’s overall growth in the U.S. market.

Table 2
Preliminary United States PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q11 (Units)

Gartner: Preliminary United States PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q11 (Units)

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad. Final estimates will be subject to change. Source: Gartner (October 2011)

PC growth in EMEA reached 26.6 million units in the third quarter of 2011, a 2.9 percent decline from the second quarter of 2010. It was the third consecutive quarter that the EMEA region has experienced negative growth. However, analysts said vendors may have seen the end of backed-up inventory issues, which have been pulling down growth. The consumer PC market in Western Europe remained weak, with consumer confidence permanently shaken by the economic issues spreading across most of the region. Furthermore, the market share of mini-notebooks continued to decline, especially in Western Europe, which also contributed to the weak year-over-year comparison.

In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments reached 31.8 million units in the third quarter of 2011, a 6 percent increase from the same period last year. Vendors continued to stimulate demand aggressively with promotions and prices, benefiting buyers looking for good prices. It also provided an opportunity for some consumers to buy their first mobile PC.

The PC market in Latin America grew 19.6 percent in the third quarter of 2011. Mobile PC shipments grew 31.1 percent year over year, and desk-based PC shipments increased 6.5 percent in the third quarter of 2011.

PC shipments in Japan grew 3 percent, with shipments reaching 3.9 million units. The consumer market received a boost in demand with the introduction by vendors of new consumer models in September. There was also a rebound in production for the professional market, after a drop in enterprise demand because of the higher prioritization for business continuity plans that coincided with the earthquake and tsunami in March.

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 the Computing Hardware section on Gartner’s website at

Source: Gartner, Inc.

MacDailyNews Note: In Apple’s case, these are preliminary estimates. We’ll know the actual total Mac unit sales next Tuesday, October 18th after market close.


  1. And with the new version number will climb a lot more..
    BTW, for those of you getting the unknown error (3200), there is no way arround it, just keep trying.
    I tried like 30 times before a successfully update.
    Also, if you select update, it tries to backup everything, if you are in a hurry, use the “restore” with no backup… I hope you are a normal person who does backup regulary.

  2. HP did well, second only to Apple in U.S. percentage growth over last year’s quarter. In terms of unit sales growth, HP’s number is highest in U.S. HP should announce plans to get rid of its PC business more often.

    Apple should catch Dell in the U.S. by this time next year.

  3. I hope they continue to NOT count iPads as computers. That will give MS and their OEM lackeys a false sense of security while the Mac continues divert the money out the door and iOS continues to suck the oxygen out of the room.

  4. I did some math from another source that had very similar numbers. People are seeing what is happening. Yes the PC market grew about 1.1% in the USA this quarter. But, the Mac growth was 21.4% and the non Mac LOST 1.4%.

    The total less the Mac for 3Q11 was 15,465,000 PCs
    The total less the Mac for 3Q10 was 15,677,000 PCs
    That is a 1.4% loss in quarterly shipments for non Mac PCs.

    You have to look at these numbers in their OS type, not who put the box together. The tsunami is rushing at the beach and these idiots can see it happening. When anything is growing at 21.4% and the rest of the market is shrinking, this just accelerates until the new normal is found. The new normal has an Apple logo on it!

    1. If you put the same 21.4% growth on the Mac and the same 1.1% on the total market, next year will be 17,960,415 total Mac and non Mac PCs.

      The 21.4% Mac growth will make the 2,300,000 Macs this year into 2,792,200 next year. That is 15.5% of the USA PC market.

      This is without the iPad and iPhone halo. Are we really looking at 18% or 20%? Maybe. Maybe more!

    2. If you do this and make no changes, the total PCs are 18,157,980 in 2 years and the Macs are 18.7% of that at 3,389,731 Macs.

      The next year is 22.4% Macs. (That is 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 of the PCs sold.) The next year is 26.9% then 32.3% the next year. That is 1 in every 3 PCs sold in the USA. That is less than 5 years from now and I am being very conservative with this.

      Now add the iPads and iPhones and the halos. Can you see the tsunami yet? Steve Ballmer does!

  5. @ Jersey_Trader: what makes you think Ballmer sees this? if he does, why doesn’t he do anything about it?

    After all this time, MS still refuses to change its business model (MS = just the OS, marginalize the hardware vendors to accept negligible profit).

    But it’s not even cutting edge at OSes — come on, “tiles”? MS still follows most of what Apple does, 2 steps behind. So its products by definition have to be a kludge between an uninspired MS-OS and what hundreds of hardware and millions of software developers want, with predictable snafu. With the possible exception of the Kinect platform, MS seems to waste the majority of its talent making, mismanaging, and repairing partnerships — not making consistent, uniform, clean products that anyone can use comfortably.

    Without corporate contracts, Ballmer would have been toast long ago. But happy for him, corporate IT absorbs new innovation only about every 5-6 years, or every 1-2 hardware cycles. Look how many rely on XP. “we’ve always done it that way”, “we know how to fix it when it breaks”, “it’s good enough for now”.

    So that leaves Apple to reach the intelligent independent computer users and small business owners. I doubt that’s the majority of the total computer market, but it’s all Apple’s for the taking as long as they don’t let the hubris grow too much or price themselves out of the mainstream.

    1. Ballmer is a sales guy (and nothing else it seems) and sales guys watch the recent and long term sales numbers. When the sales rate of your product are dropping and someone else’s are going up, that is all they obsess about. Ballmer sees the cliff Microsoft is now going over.

      As for the rest of Microsoft’s problems, it would take a full decade to create a clear clean OS. Look how long it took Steve Jobs and Apple to transition from the OS9 to the OS X which the iOS is stripped down from. Keep in mind that Steve Jobs spent a lot of time at Next developing the core of OS X.

      Microsoft doesn’t have 10 or 20 years to fix this and giving up on the old Windows OS now leaves no reason to stay with Microsoft. If you are switching OS, you would be far ahead of the beta OS’s to just go OS X and most of their customers will be cloud based and OS independent. Mac’s OS X can also run Windows OS so why go with the unknown when all your Apple devices work with your Macs.

      Microsoft is Road Kill and will need a few years to publicly acknowledge it.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.