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.
Unit shipments as a metric for performance is okay, but Apple’s units are much much better units than the competition. For instance HP grew 15.1% Q/Q to 5.13 million units and kept its number position in the US. But $300 netbooks and $500 mini-towers with very small profit margins are part of those units.
On the Apple side, unit shipments grew 21.5% Q/Q to 2.3 million units solidifying its number three position in the U.S. But look at what make up those units. At the very bottom are the $599 Mac mini and the $999 MacBook Air, the two most affordable desktop and notebook. And if you think they are expensive, let me point to the competition who have had a helluva time bringing a competitively priced alternative to the MacBook Air.
It’s not just HP; it’s Dell, Toshiba, Acer, and Others. What a world of difference. In terms of craftsmanship, design, user experience for the user and profit margins for Apple. Apple may be number three in terms of unit shipments in the U.S. but the quality of those units make a big difference in figuring out who isn’t doing well and who really is.