Canalys' analysts are more optimistic about PC sales this year than their colleagues from IHS, Gartner and IDC, sort of.
Canalys expects PC shipments to rise by about 15 percent this year, which, however, includes shipments of tablets. In this statistic, Apple has already become a dominant player in the market.
According to Canalys, PC shipments are expected to hit 415 million this year, 59 million of which will be tablets. 22 million tablets are forecast to be sold during the current quarter. Notebook sales are estimated at 211 million units, up 10 percent from last year. The North American PC market is predicted to expand by 18 percent to 103 million units. However, excluding tablets, the market grows by less than 1 percent, Canalys said.
Canalys is the only major market research firm that includes tablets in their PC forecasts and this decision remains highly controversial. However, if we assume for a moment that tablets could be considered PCs, they will help Apple to become the world's largest PC maker, Canalys said.
"Apple has seen its PC market share expand from 9 percent to 15 percent in just four quarters, though iPad shipments in its core market – the United States – are likely to come under pressure in Q4 due to the launch of the Fire and Nook at extremely competitive price points," said Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling, in a prepared statement. "HP and Apple will fight for top position in Q4, but Apple may have to wait for the release of iPad 3 before it passes HP."
Among analysts, Canalys' global market share numbers for Apple appear to be somewhat high. For example, Needham & Co. analysts told their clients in a research note that Apple currently holds 5.2 percent of the PC market, which is 15-year high, according to the investment bank.