Move over Microsoft. Apple can claim big, big market share numbers, too. According to NPD, in June, nine out of 10 dollars spent on computers costing $1,000 or more went to Apple. Mac revenue market share in the “premium” price segment was 91 percent, up from 88 percent in May.
By the way, Apple’s command of the premium market is way up from first quarter 2008, when, according to NPD, Mac revenue share was 66 percent. Gee, and it seemed so high when I broke that story.
Microsoft executives had better study Apple’s success — and well — as they prepare to bring Windows 7 to market. The new operating system released to manufacturing today and launches on Oct. 22. But some people will get Windows 7 sooner. Microsoft might want to reconsider its marketing, too. Apple’s premium sales success means that from one perspective, Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunters” commercials are a failure.
Microsoft and OEMs measure success in unit market share, which for combined Windows PC shipments is over 90 percent, according to Gartner and IDC. In the United States, Mac market share was a paltry 8.7 percent in second quarter, according to Gartner. The bulk of PCs sell for less than $1,000.
According to NPD, in June, average selling prices for all PCs sold at US retail was $701, or $690 for desktops and $703 for notebooks. But the ASPs get more interesting when comparing Macs to Windows PCs. For all Windows PCs, ASP was $515 in June. For Macs: $1,400. Desktop Windows PC ASP: $489. Mac desktops: $1,398. Windows notebook ASP was $520, or $569 when removing all those nasty, margin-sucking netbooks. Mac laptops: $1,400.
Mac ASPs have been higher for a long time, because Apple chooses not to compete at lower prices. The real entry price for Apple computers is $999 for the white MacBook and $1,199 for either the low-end iMac or MacBook Pro. By comparison, Windows netbooks sell for as little as $199, unsubsidized, and even some fuller-sized laptops don’t cost much more. For example, HP laptops start at $349.99 after rebate.
Apple’s starting prices put nearly all Macs in the premium category — but A (higher pricing) doesn’t necessarily lead to B (greater sales). All major Windows OEMs sell PCs in the premium category, too. Apple’s charging more isn’t necessarily recipe for people paying more for Macs, or their capturing big revenue share.
Among the things working for Apple:
- Mac OS X, iLife and hardware design differentiate Macs from PCs
- Most households have Windows PCs — so a Mac is something fresh, new
- Most Windows PCs come with Vista, which has gotten lots of bad press
- Apple retail stores offer a singular purchasing experience
- Apple excels at lifestyle marketing; there is a Mac lifestyle
- Sales halo effect from satisfied iPod and iPhone customers help Mac sales
- Design priority: Apple emphasizes different features, such as super long battery life for MacBook Pro, than most Windows OEMs