Here’s How Apple is Winning

The overall U.S. personal computer market declined 13.8 percent in the third quarter of the year to see its steepest drop in more than a decade. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) fell 19.3 percent and 15.9 percent, respectively, while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) saw a year-over-year unit decline of 6.1 percent.

While HP continued to be the market leader with its 4.1 million unit shipments and Dell managed 3.2 million, their bigger falls meant that Apple’s 2 million units actually helped raise its market share to a new high of 13.6 percent. HP now has a 19.3 percent share and Dell is in second place with 15.9 percent. Apple’s last best performance came in the third quarter of 2011 when it held a 12.5 percent share. The company is benefiting from its growing clout in the back-to-school market.

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In fourth place behind Apple was Lenovo, the only name in the top six to see a growth in the U.S. market after shipping 1.35 million units and accounting for 8.9 percent share of the market. Acer and Toshiba saw massive drops of 28.2 percent and 33.4 percent, respectively, with only 125 units separating them. Acer shipped 989,725 PCs to Toshiba’s 989,600. Toshiba’s decline was the biggest for the second straight quarter.

“The third quarter has historically been driven by back-to-school sales, but U.S. PC shipments did not increase, not even sequentially, from the second quarter of 2012,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Channels were conservative in placing orders. Professional PC shipments in the U.S. began slowing in the second quarter of this year, and they continued the trend in the third quarter. The results indicate that the replacement peak may have passed in the professional sector.”

Gartner does not cover Apple’s global market share as the company does not rank among the top five worldwide vendors. Globally, PC shipments fell 8.3 percent year-over-year, with Lenovo emerging as the market leader ahead of HP.

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