Apple computer sales seen surging in US, Acer also strong

While the company has yet to make a mark among worldwide computer shipments in either major survey of the PC industry, it continued to show impressive strength stateside. But Acer is #3 or #4, depending on whom you ask.

In the Gartner survey, the company gained two percentage points of market share year-over-year to end the second quarter of 2008 with 8.5 percent of the market and a little under 1.4 million units shipped, good enough for third.

Numbers from IDC told a similar story, with Apple's market share up 1.5% to 7.8% of shipments, and 1.33 million units shipped -- and fourth in that survey. In either survey, Apple failed to register among the top five manufacturers in terms of shipments.

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Acer also showed some strength, but the two surveys showed divergent results. IDC claimed Acer had an edge of 2,000 units over Apple for the third spot, with a 7.8 percent market share but up 50% year over year.

Gartner told a completely different story. It pegged Acer's shipments as shipping 351,000 fewer PCs in the US in Q2 over the previous year's quarter, down 20 percent, and as having 8.1 percent market share. It should be noted that the shipment estimates were essentially identical in both surveys.

Last year, Acer resorted to acquiring other brands (Gateway, eMachines, Packard Bell) to move up the list, while Apple made its way solely on its own.

Worldwide, HP led in both surveys, with Dell leading US shipments. Overall, the two companies had growth in the PC sector pegged at around 16 percent.

In the IDC survey, among US shipments, Dell was followed by HP, Acer, Apple, and Toshiba. The Gartner survey was nearly identical save for the flip of Acer and Apple. In both surveys worldwide, the order was HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo, then Toshiba.

"Despite the economic headwinds, the PC market continued to show its resilience," IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker head Loren Loverde said. "Nevertheless, economic pressures are mounting and PC market growth is expected to decline over the next year. The relatively strong PC market in recent quarters does not mean that the sector is immune to the changing economic environment."

Gartner added that if the top companies continue to squeeze the smaller ones by using competitive pricing, a new wave of consolidation among those smaller vendors could begin to occur.

"The retail space was a harsh pricing environment during the quarter," Gartner client computing group principal analyst Mika Kitagawa said.

Europe and the Middle East were seen in both surveys as helping to buoy growth worldwide. Growth in the Asia-Pacific reason has slowed considerably, and North American shipment growth is down in the low single digits as well.

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