Explain this – Apple’s Mac price premium goes up even as it increases market share

How does the Mac gain share while increasing its price premium over the Windows PC?
[Via asymco]

Apple set a new record for Mac sales in the fourth quarter. This was not a surprise. The growth was perhaps a bit lower than some expected (including me) but it was still a healthy 23% and 8x the PC growth rate. The Mac has outgrown the PC (and hence has gained share) for 19 quarters straight, nearly five years.

What’s more interesting is where the growth came from. Every region outgrew the market. Asia-Pacific led with a 67% year-over-year increase, almost 10x the market. Japan grew at 56%, which is about 6x the market, and Europe and the United States both grew in double-digits despite both markets contracting overall.

Looking over a longer time frame, the Mac has nearly quadrupled in volume in five years. In the last quarter of 2005, Apple sold 1.2 million units. In the latest quarter it sold 4.1 million. So the performance has been relatively good.

One significant reason for the growth has been the shift from desktop to portables. The lines show how the percent of portables went from about 50% to 70% of units and sales in four years.


Apple continues to increase its share of the computer market. Yet, while the overall cost for PCs continues to go down towards commodity pricing, Apple still maintains a high premium.Apple computers have an average price more than twice what the average PC sells for.

Yet in every market globally, the Mac is growing sales at substantially faster rates than the rest of the industry.

How can it increase market share and increase the premium paid for it when the  overall market is pricing PCs at lower and lower prices?

Asymco’s hypothesis:

…something changed with PCs when the laptop became “good enough”. With portable computing, the job the PC was hired to do evolved. It was more important that the product be well designed (for aesthetic value, usability and reliability) than just fast and spacious. The microprocessors were plenty fast but what mattered more was low power consumption, a low profile and tighter integration with software.

I think this may well be correct. It is interesting that the Macs growth in the market seems to have really taken off once laptops were the major computer it sold. And with the Macbook Airs taking off, it does seem likely that there are other considerations in  a laptop that Apple fulfills that other laptops do not.

I know that weight is a big reason I moved to an iPad. eight and battery life is why my main mobile computer is a Macbook Pro.

And now, with the Mac App Store, I can get programs for my computer so easily. I’ve already updated several apps. Much easier than using Software Update. Also, once I’ve bought one for my Desktop, I can simply download it to my laptop. No hassle at all.

I think that these are reasons to pay more.

One thought on “Explain this – Apple’s Mac price premium goes up even as it increases market share

  1. Possibly this generation has finally caught on to what their parents always knew—you get what you pay for!

Comments are closed.