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Apple Mac Store Sales Strong In February

Overall consumer PC shipments to stores increased by 9% from a year ago, while revenue rose 5%, an NPD Group report found.
Apple store sales of Macs easily outpaced the average for the consumer PC industry in February, a market research firm said Tuesday.

Apple desktops and notebooks accounted for 14% of shipments to retailers last month and 25% of total PC revenue in stores, the NPD Group said. Those numbers represented a 60% jump in Mac shipments from February 2007 and a 67% increase in revenue. Overall consumer PC shipments to stores increased by 9% from a year ago, while revenue rose 5%.

NPD's numbers are for store sales only and don't include online sales, which is a major channel for Dell, the largest PC maker in the United States in terms of shipments. Nevertheless, the NPD numbers are considered a bellwether on the health of the U.S. consumer PC industry.

"They had a good February," NPD analyst Stephen Baker said of Apple. "It's pretty much in line with what they've done in the last few months. Certainly since Leopard has come out." Leopard, the latest version of the Mac OS X operating system, was released in late October.

In notebooks, Apple shipments increased 64% last month, and revenue rose 67%, NPD said. Apple's ultrathin MacBook Air, which started shipping at the end of January, accounted for 20% of Apple's total notebook sales. "It's a great start, but it's no indicator of how well it [Air] will do in the future," Baker told InformationWeek. The MacBook Air's long-term potential is expected to become more apparent in the second quarter.

Besides the Air release, Apple notebook sales in February were also helped by the company's smooth upgrading of its MacBook and MacBook Pro lines to Intel's latest Penryn processors, Baker said. Apple notebook numbers overall were far higher than the industry average, which amounted to a 20% rise in shipments and an 11% increase in revenues.

Shipments of Apple desktop systems rose 55%, while revenue jumped 68%. Desktop shipments for the industry fell 5%, and revenue declined 2%.