NPD: Apple dominates the high-end PC market
In personal computers retailing over $1,000, Apple's Mac products comprised two-thirds of all that were sold during the first quarter, research group NPD says.
This number is up from 57 percent in January of 2007, and 18 percent in 2006.
The Cupertino company is also rapidly increasing its overall market share. 13.8 percent of all desktops and laptops sold bore the Apple logo, up from 9.5 percent in the same period last year.
Apple's turnaround is even more stark when comparing it with the market as a whole. While sales of Windows-based notebooks have been flat, Apple's laptops showed a 50 to 60 percent increase. The story is the same with desktops: Windows systems are down 20 percent, while Mac desktops are up 45 percent.
It is fair to note that nearly all of Apple's systems are above that $1,000 price point. The only system that sells for under $1,000 is the company's Mac Mini system.
Analysts point out that this flies in the face the "cheaper is better" logic typically attributed to the personal computer market. Instead, it seems as if consumers are willing to pay a premium on PCs as long as there is a perception of quality and a good user experience, NPD explains.
Much of the success could be explained by its retail strategy, which has been a major driver in turning its business around. This is also likely a result of the much-hyped "halo effect" surrounding Apple's successful line of iPod music devices.
The third piece of the puzzle may be the release of the Leopard operating system. NPD observed a marked increase in sales of Macs following its release, indicating the new OS may have pushed consumers to give Apple a second look.
Apple's share begins to look much less impressive with the addition of enterprise sales, which research firm Gartner includes in its stats. Apple has essentially zero market share there due to its lack of enterprise products. The company's only entry is its Xserve server, which has seen little adoption among large IT deployments.
Gartner recently reported the company garnered a 6.6 percent share overall, putting it in fourth place in rankings there.
Even so, Gartner said Apple recorded a 32.5 percent overall share increase over last year.