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PC Gains, Mac Falls in January 2009 Sales

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 48 comments

While most computer companies faced hard times last year (especially in the fourth quarter of calendar 2008), Apple saw growing sales throughout the period. That said, things took a downturn in January 2009.

According to data from NPD Group, unit sales of Apple computers fell 6 percent as compared to sales from January 2008, while revenue of Mac sales fell 11 percent.

Interestingly enough, unit sales of Windows-based PCs rose 13 percent as compared to the same month last year, though revenue stayed at the same level -- signifying that consumers were purchasing more PCs but at lower price points.

According to InformationWeek, NPD analyst Stephen Baker believes that Apple sales fell because of the relatively high price of Macs (which are definitely unattractive during tough economic times) and that there haven’t been a new product for Apple desktop users, who haven’t seen an iMac refresh since in April.

Could price sensitive Mac users be switching to PCs due to price? Baker doesn’t believe so, saying, "I don't think there's a lot of Apple people switching. We think people just aren't buying."

Those who are die-hard Mac users tend to be pretty loyal to Apple and will wait for the next big thing from the company rather than switch platforms. The fact is, though, that the so-called “Apple tax” is undoubtedly a heavier weight during a recession.

A new iMac, and especially a new Mac Mini, could reinvigorate sales. Of course, the next version of both products are still in the rumor stage, so we won’t know for sure until the next Apple media event.

So if Mac faithful aren’t switching, what has Windows PC sales up 13 percent over last year? It could be the cheaper prices brought on by sales and other pressures to move excess inventory left over from 2008. The growing popularity of netbooks -- an area of continued growth -- is likely another big helper in the segment.

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  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , February 23, 2009 3:05 PM
    mac is a pc
  • 1 Hide
    pharge , February 23, 2009 3:09 PM
    A lot of the increase of windows-PC sale was due to the increase popularity of netbooks.... I guess
  • 1 Hide
    TwoDigital , February 23, 2009 3:14 PM
    I feel specifically left out here... I've built perhaps 100 "PCs" and since I buy them piece-by-piece I'm pretty sure nobody is able to count my purchases. Let's get onto fixing that. :) 
  • Display all 48 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    jsloan , February 23, 2009 3:23 PM
    good point a mac is a pc, it's just comes with another os installed.

    i think pc sales are up because of the lower price. in this economic crisis mac prices have not come down, have not been discounted, it's basically the same old list price maybe a small discount or they introduce new model with higher price, but dont continue to offer older model at lower price. also, i would think people who don't want to run windows would just run some flavor os linux on their windows pc.
  • 0 Hide
    pharge , February 23, 2009 3:30 PM
    I have heard people using "Wintel" PC a lot. Should we start calling Mac as "Mactel" PC instead?...;)
  • -6 Hide
    Gryphyn , February 23, 2009 3:53 PM
    I don't think the "Mac IS a PC" argument flies anymore, considering Apple themselves made the distinction in THEIR OWN COMMERCIALS.

    Boo yah.
  • -3 Hide
    joebob2000 , February 23, 2009 4:01 PM
    TwoDigitalI feel specifically left out here... I've built perhaps 100 "PCs" and since I buy them piece-by-piece I'm pretty sure nobody is able to count my purchases. Let's get onto fixing that.

    OK, we will go ahead and use that number as a baseline to compare the number of Macs that were underreported due to being built ala carte by enthusiasts... Let's see is that 100/0 or 0/100?

    Seriously, we do know how many computers are built and for what purpose (give or take a few percent). Apple buys chips from Intel, and we know how many. The number of Intel chips left over is how many went into windows or Linux systems. AMD sells chips only for windows/Linux systems. Microsoft sells a license for every PC legitimately built for windows. With these numbers, you know how many Macs there are, how many Windows PCs there are, and how many pirated windows/Linux pcs there are. Your computers certainly fall into one of these categories, unless you are building them with VIA processors in which case no one really cares. Don't worry, you aren't as special as you think.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , February 23, 2009 5:02 PM
    Is it just me, or is Tom's Hardware slowing down on news? Other tech sites have had this news up for days. Hell, the front page of Tom's wasn't even updated for a day.

    I'm not complaining, just wondering what has happened with the editorial team.
  • 4 Hide
    jsloan , February 23, 2009 5:09 PM
    GryphynI don't think the "Mac IS a PC" argument flies anymore, considering Apple themselves made the distinction in THEIR OWN COMMERCIALS. Boo yah.


    ? mac is not a pc, a pc = personal computer, isn't mac a personal computer, how is the hardware different from anyother laptop, the only difference is the os, the hardware is fairly generic.
  • 1 Hide
    kelfen , February 23, 2009 5:15 PM
    mac is hard to find support for games O.o
  • 1 Hide
    bustapr , February 23, 2009 5:18 PM
    If MAC cuts down the prices on their pc's they might make a fight. But as long as the cheapest macbook is at $1000 it wont sell more than more powerfull dell and hp notebooks at the same price.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , February 23, 2009 5:30 PM
    Yes, but the assumption here is that the numbers in the article are from PC unit sales (i.e. pre-built systems).
  • 1 Hide
    kyeana , February 23, 2009 5:42 PM
    i swear toms is always one day behind anandtech for news. Still, we tend to have funnier comments over here... ;) 
  • 5 Hide
    HVDynamo , February 23, 2009 5:54 PM
    Toms hasn't been the same since Best of Media took over, They are completely ruining Toms Games, and Toms hardware is starting to slip too, I miss being able to watch the Spotlight, and Second Take. That, and I don't really care for this new format of the page either. Best of Media hasn't done anything good to these sites, its all been bad.
  • 0 Hide
    bustapr , February 23, 2009 6:06 PM
    gm0n3yYes, but the assumption here is that the numbers in the article are from PC unit sales (i.e. pre-built systems).

    PC's are "personal computers"not "pre-built systems" and macs are "personal computers".
  • 3 Hide
    jsloan , February 23, 2009 6:07 PM
    HVDynamoToms hasn't been the same since Best of Media took over, They are completely ruining Toms Games, and Toms hardware is starting to slip too, I miss being able to watch the Spotlight, and Second Take. That, and I don't really care for this new format of the page either. Best of Media hasn't done anything good to these sites, its all been bad.


    i agree, i've been visiting this site since the beginning, i mean year one, and i've noticed a difference.

    i come here for the hard core hardware benchmarks, articles, reviews, ect.

    i don't much care for all the toms' sections, games, media, ect. it'll end up like ign, which now even does comic books. :-(

    what tom hardware has do is spin off , fire a lot of people and go back to being a hard core hardware site.
  • -3 Hide
    crom , February 23, 2009 7:04 PM
    bustaprIf MAC cuts down the prices on their pc's they might make a fight. But as long as the cheapest macbook is at $1000 it wont sell more than more powerfull dell and hp notebooks at the same price.


    They've been outselling Dell on the laptop front for 2 years now. I don't think that talks to the hardware, you are paying more for similar hardware from Apple, it talks to the software. Consumers are either frustrated or tired of Vista and want a change. OSX is a much better OS than Vista is, not to mention the bundled software with it is actually useful.
  • 0 Hide
    plbyrd , February 23, 2009 8:16 PM
    The netbook idea doesn't hold water, not a 13% increase. When I go to retailers I have no problem finding in-stock netbooks at the $250 to $400 price points, but the $699 laptops are usually sold out. And there's a LOT more $699 laptop models available.
  • 2 Hide
    seboj , February 23, 2009 8:30 PM
    GryphynI don't think the "Mac IS a PC" argument flies anymore, considering Apple themselves made the distinction in THEIR OWN COMMERCIALS. Boo yah.


    I know the truth hurts, so here it is agagin:

    Quote:
    mac is a pc
  • 0 Hide
    outacontrolpimp , February 23, 2009 10:03 PM
    I think part of the reason is Windows 7 is having amazing reviews, This could give Windows buyers hope, but im only saying that can be part of it.
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