IDC: Apple drops behind Toshiba in PC market share

Apple has dropped to fifth place in the US market according to preliminary second quarter estimates from market analysis firm IDC. The manufacturer had reached the fourth place position in 2008, but has failed to keep up that momentum in 2009, retaining a steady market share while its two nearest competitors, Acer and Toshiba, race ahead.

In the first quarter, for example, the company's shipments shrank by 1.2% year over year; and in the second quarter, shipments were down by 12.4%, according to IDC's Quarterly PC Tracker report. This negative growth would not have affected Apple all that much, as it has retained a steady 7.6% market share throughout the year, but Acer jumped up 2.1% in market share during the quarter, and Toshiba went up by 1.1%.

Annual growth for those companies is the astounding figure. Acer shipped 51% more computers in the second quarter of 2009 than it did in the same quarter of 2008 (2 million versus 1.3 million). Similarly, Toshiba shipped 33.9% more computers than it did last year (1.2 million versus 915 thousand).

The US market shrank by 3% overall, but still managed to do better than analysts had expected, and would not have shrunk by any appreciable degree had it not been for Dell's singular woes.

Bob O'Donnell, IDC's Vice President of Clients and Displays said, "Despite continued contraction from a year ago, the U.S. market managed a better-than-average sequential performance -- an indication of a stabilizing or improving market. While the sequential growth may be a hint of recovery, the market's focus on lower-price PCs and Mini Notebooks is likely to drag the value of the market to lower levels. The market continues to rely on consumer purchases, with a substantial weakness in the commercial space. We expect to see more of the same as we enter the busy shopping season of the second half of the year. In the longer term, an expected recovery in the commercial segment should boost growth in 2011."

What O'Donnell is saying here is that consumers are keeping the PC industry alive with their purchases of netbooks while the business sector stagnates, but that is no way to grow the industry.

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