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Summary:

From Apple 2.0, Needham analyst Charles Wolf has issued a research note on Mac sales that is no less impressive for being a statement of the obvious: Apple is selling a lot of Macs, and enjoying a very healthy profit margin on those sales.

From Apple 2.0, Needham analyst Charles Wolf has issued a research note on Mac sales that is no less impressive for being a statement of the obvious: Apple is selling a lot of Macs for a lot of money.

For third quarter 2010, Apple sold a record 3.9 million Macs, compared to nearly 90 million PCs. That means Mac market share continues to hover at between four and five percent of worldwide sales, but that may finally be changing. While PC sales were flat in the U.S. and Europe during the third quarter, Apple saw 20 and 25 percent growth, respectively. Possibly more important, Mac sales in Asia, including in the all-important Chinese market, are taking off, up 80 percent year over year.

Worldwide, the Mac was up 28.5 percent year over year, compared to a 9.7 percent increase for PC sales. Mac sales were boosted by sharp increases in home and business sales, up 25.3 and 66.3 percent, respectively. That compares with PC growth rates of 10.4 percent for home sales and only 8.5 percent for business.

Looking at a breakdown of business growth, the Mac saw increases in large and very large businesses of 145 and 200 percent year over year, 90 percent in medium-sized businesses, and nearly 50 percent growth in smaller businesses.

Government sales of Macs were up 500 percent over the same period last year. While it could be argued these impressive-sounding gains are actually a better reflection of poor Mac enterprise presence in the past than of any current success, it could also be attributed to Apple’s primary business focus. If Apple wasn’t selling on the back end, it’s possible that was as much due to a conscious choice to focus on client Macs and iOS devices, as it was to a lack of interest on the part of enterprise customers.

Citing the same report by Charles Wolf, AppleInsider expanded on the continued dominance of the Mac in profits. For the U.S. market, Apple is now the “profit share” leader, accounting for 29.4 percent of every dollar in home computer sales. In comparison, HP accounted for 20.6 percent, while Dell was at 12.9 percent, but there is a caveat. The profit numbers are based upon an average selling price (ASP) from IDC that is higher than that reported by Apple. According to Charles Wolf, “if Apple’s average selling price were substituted for IDC’s, the Mac’s dollar share of the U.S. home market would fall to 20.0 percent, slightly less than HP’s share.” IDC is “standing by” its ASP estimate, but even if the lower estimate is used, it’s important to note that both HP and Dell sold more than twice as many PCs as Apple did Macs for the period.

But unlike HP, Dell, and other PC makers struggling with saturated markets and fighting netbook manufacturers like Asus and Acer, Apple is poised for even greater growth and profit next year. According to Wolf, Mac sales are experiencing “multiple halo effects” from iPods, iPhones, and now iPads. Perhaps 2011 will be the year the Mac breaks 5 percent market share worldwide, but even if not, it will be another record year for Apple computer sales. Back to the Mac indeed.

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  1. They are really on the verge of breaking into the mainstream as much as the PC has. With all they have to offer the consumer in iPhones, iPod, iPad and more it will be a big 2011 for Apple. mainstreethost

  2. Those numbers don’t mean anything with 90% of the world is using PC compared to 10% for Mac. Apple has a LONG way to go to even make a statement, and with their ridiculous prices I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Which is the reason why Android will dominate the mobile market, Apple will lose once again and history will repeat itself. It’s a shame, they actually have good products but their mindset will lead them to their own demise.

    1. That won’t happen.

    2. Because market share means everything, right? Apple earns more with their smartphone than any other player out there with all their smartphone’s even more than the largest out there which is Nokia.

    3. I actually like the idea of Android being really popular because it will stop Apple suffering from brand abuse like Burberry.
      Most people will go for the cheaper product ( most people don’t really need an iPhone they just like the fact that it’s shiny ) and some will go for the product that’s a bit more expensive because it suits their requirements better.

    4. Not everyone can afford a Ferrari, but we all want one.

  3. @Steve Jobs

    “Those numbers don’t mean anything with 90% of the world is using PC compared to 10% for Mac.”

    Profit does mean something. It means a lot. Ask any CEO, employee, or shareholder. And when you’re growing in sales while the competition remains stagnant, that 90% figure won’t stay unchanged for long.

    “Apple has a LONG way to go to even make a statement, and with their ridiculous prices I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”

    Apple needs to make a statement? Having a unified strategy that incorporates online services, mobile devices, and personal computers under one roof seems to be speaking for itself. As for “ridiculous prices”, you’re assuming that a computer is a computer is a computer. It’s more appropriate to compare the value of a specific hardware/software bundle against a hardware/software bundle that provides similar capabilities. You also need to compare ease of use, time spent maintaining the machine, range and quality of third-party software, and longevity. When you do that, it’s much easier to see the Mac’s value advantage.

  4. With this kind of sales volume and profit, maybe we Mac users can expect a little more emphasis on Macs and their OS. Right now, Safari refuses to install, mail pays no attention to rules And nobody at Apple seems to give a damn.

    1. I think we can expect more emphasis on Macs, at least on portables. As for OS X, I’d be surprised if 10.7 launched before next fall, after WWDC and the iPhone 5 in summer.

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