Apple Nabs 91% Of Premium PC Market

Look, 91% of anything is worthy of praise, but the figure in question here really shouldn't be all that surprising. According to new research from NPD, nine out of every ten personal computers sold with a price tag of $1000 or more were Apple machines. We know, that sounds crazy, but we'll explain in a bit why it's really not terribly shocking. The exact figure is 91%; 91% of the PC market in the $1000+ sector belongs to Apple, leaving just 9% to split between Windows, Linux, Solaris or something.

Back in May, the figure sat at 88%, so it's not like this is some new phenomenon. Of course, it's not completely old either; in Q1 2008, Apple's share of this so-called "premium" market sat at 66%, but Apple has definitely become a mainstay and a fixture in the computer and consumer electronics industry over the past 18 months. We mean, just look at Apple's recent numbers--it just had its best non-holiday quarter in company history, and that was right smack dab in the middle of a terrible recession. Meanwhile, Microsoft saw its first full-year decline in revenue since 1986, but with Windows 7 just around the bend, we definitely see Wintel sales surging this winter.

According to NDP, the average selling price for all PCs in the US sat at $701 ($690 for desktops; $703 for notebooks). However, the average selling price for Windows PCs was $515, while Macs had an ASP of $1400. That's nearly three times as much! So, onto that "no surprise part." Currently, Apple only has a single laptop under a grand, the $999 white MacBook. Of course, you can get a Mac mini for under $1000, but that machine is hardly a high volume seller for Apple. The reality is that there are literally dozens of Windows-based machines under $1000 out there, but it's tough to get a Mac for under that. In other words, it takes a really special need to justify a Windows PC purchase over $1000. Gamers, AV editors and multimedia mavens may feel the need to splurge on quad-core CPUs and SLI'd GPUs, but most folks are quite content with $500 15" notebooks and $300 netbooks. Also, we think the $1000 mark is really important; can you imagine how different this would be if the dividing line sat at $999? We've seen loads of Windows PCs hit the $999 mark, and if you include those in the premium market, we bet Apple loses a few percentage points at least.

Still, major kudos to Apple for dominating the only market it competes in. The company's executives have made clear that it doesn't plan on competing at the low-end, so it obviously hopes to do well at the high-end. If these results--not to mention its own records with the SEC--are any indication, the company is succeeding in fine fashion.