Apple gains globally from "iPad Effect"

DisplaySearch's Mobile PC survey results indicate that a lack of competitive tablet PC products from other brands continues to boost Apple's market share in the mobile PC segment.

The report observes that in capturing a 12.4 per cent share of global mobile PC shipments in Q3'10, Apple continues to benefit from the "iPad Effect," which has shaken up the mobile PC market.

According to preliminary results from the DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report, Apple has taken the number three market share position worldwide, and ranks number one in North America, mostly attributed to the continued sales success of the iPad, which accounts for an amazing eight per cent share of global shipments of all mobile PCs.

One sour note in a mainly rosy picture for Apple is that ninety-five per cent of iPad shipments have been to developed regions, primarily North America.

"A lack of competitive tablet PC products from other brands continues to drive Apple's market share in the mobile PC segment. As the iPad continues its worldwide roll-out, one developed region where the acceptance of the iPad has been weak is Japan, however. Questions of local language content and language-specific apps have slowed acceptance in this tech savvy region," comments Chris Connery, vice president of Large Format Displays at DisplaySearch.

"As other players come to market with tablet PCs it will be interesting to see if they can move beyond the Western-centric nature of Apple's product and develop an infrastructure to support local needs, especially with the growth of consumer spending in China on personal computing devices," he adds.

"On a global scale, the adoption of iPad is not without its challenges," agrees Hidetoshi Himuro, DisplaySearch's director of IT Market Research. "Localised content in non-English speaking regions is sparse, and iPad owners must have a PC for downloading content from iTunes. As a result, penetration in developing regions will be slow."

Meanwhile, HP maintained its global leadership position in mobile PC shipments with 9.5 million units shipped in Q3'10, accounting for a 17.3 per cent market share. Acer is nipping at HP's heels with 9.1 million units shipped and a 16.5 per cent market share.

Apple's MacBook shipments have also increased, but with less of an impact than iPad sales. Without the iPad, Apple's mobile PC share would be 4.8 per cent, or only enough to rank eighth globally. The top five brands account for 65.2 per cent of the total mobile PC market, as the strength of brand names evidently continues to grow.

In Q3'10, worldwide mobile PC shipments (which include tablet PCs in DisplaySearch's metrics) reached 55 million, up 9.6 per cent on Q2 and 19 per cent year on year - the highest volume since DisplaySearch first began to track this segment in 1999.

Both sequential and yearly growth seemed strong in many regions, but DisplaySearch says it should be noted that new personal computing devices such as netbooks and tablet PCs, as well as lower-priced notebooks, are driving most of the demand. In high-growth regions such as China, consumers still favour traditional desktop PC and external monitor configurations, typically purchased as a DIY kit, for home use. However, the market is changing quickly in China, so the transition from desktop to mobile PCs is poised to happen much faster in this region than it did in others. Recognising the evolving definition of a "personal computer," especially for consumers, is key to understanding the true demand outlook.