New MacBook Airs, Lion Spike Summer Mac Sales

Published on August 23, 2011
by John Paczkowski

The debut of Apple’s new MacBook Airs and Lion OS has done what many predicted: It has sent Mac sales into the stratosphere.

According to the latest metrics from NPD, domestic Mac sales for the first month of the September quarter were up 26 percent year over year, buoyed by new hardware and an eagerly anticipated update to Apple’s OS X. That’s more than six times the growth of the broader PC market.

And if it continues, Apple will likely meet consensus estimates of 4.5 million total Mac sales for the current quarter, said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. “We believe Mac sales benefited from the 7/20 launch of OS X Lion along with refreshed MacBook Airs and Mac minis,” Munster explained in a note to clients. “But these tailwinds will fade throughout the September quarter and year-over-year compares get slightly tougher in the last two months of the quarter.”

The softening PC market seems to have had little to no effect on Mac sales. Nor is it likely to in the future, given current growth trends. As I’ve noted here before, Mac sales have outpaced the broader PC market for 21 consecutive quarters now. And there’s little to suggest that streak is coming to an end any time soon.

Said Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes, “We believe Apple will continue to gain share in Macs over the long term even as the iPad grows. Given the data and our checks, our estimate for Mac growth of 18 percent year-over-year for Apple’s C3Q, may turn out to be conservative even though the global economy appears to be slowing quite a bit.”

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