No Global iPhone Halo: Worldwide Apple Mac Market Share Is Flat

Last Updated Jun 1, 2010 3:30 PM EDT

Popular reports might have you think that Apple (AAPL) is marching to dominance in all of its product categories. But that's not the case. The notion that Macs have steadily increased their market share is wrong.

I asked research firm IDC for trend data on Apple's Mac global unit sales to both consumers and businesses. The results are at odd with some recent reports.

For example, AT Internet apparently claimed that Apple now has a 6.8 percent market share in Europe. However, this study is based on visits to web sites and also includes results of iPhone OS-based devices, and so unlikely to be truly representative.

According to Gartner, Macs had 8 percent market share in the U.S. last quarter. That's useful, but doesn't project to a global scale. IDC sent me five quarters of PC market share data, including both 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. (Second quarter numbers won't be available until sometime after the close of June.)

Percentage Commercial Global Market Share in Units

Vendor 2009 Q1 2009 Q2 2009 Q3 2009 Q4 2010 Q1
Apple 2.49% 3.26% 3.01% 2.30% 2.56%
Others 97.51% 96.74% 96.99% 97.70% 97.44%

Percentage Consumer Global Market Share in Units

Vendor 2009 Q1 2009 Q2 2009 Q3 2009 Q4 2010 Q1
Apple 4.57% 4.57% 4.63% 4.99% 4.37%
Others 95.43% 95.43% 95.37% 95.01% 95.63%
Here's a graph I put together of the two market shares over the last five quarters:

If anything, the progress on the commercial end seems to be trending down slightly, while consumer purchases as a share of all PC units bought globally have been flat. Taking the U.S. separately, as Gartner did, may show a stronger market, but only domestically. Apple would appear to have significant room for sales improvement elsewhere in the world.

That fact counters the assumption that the iPhone has delivered a strong halo effect for other Apple products globally, though there does seem to be some tie between increasing handset sales and increased purchases of Macs.

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.