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Apple overtakes Asus to snag fifth place for PC sales

IDC has produced its latest report on worldwide PC sales for the third quarter of this year, and there's some good news for Apple, which has seen Mac sales drive forward nicely.

Apple shipped a hair under 5 million Macs in Q3, representing a growth of 8.9 per cent year-on-year, and giving them a total share of 6.3 per cent of the PC market (up from 5.7 per cent). That was just enough to overtake Asus, and put Apple in fifth place among PC vendors.

It's the first time Apple has ever been in the top five manufacturers in terms of worldwide sales (US sales are a different matter).

Lenovo held onto the number one spot, with 15.7 million units shipped, representing 11.2 per cent growth compared to Q3 last year, and a total PC market share of 20 per cent. HP is second with 14.7 million (although it showed the weakest growth at 5.1 per cent), ahead of Dell on 10.4 million (9.7 per cent growth).

Acer was fourth with 6.6 million PCs shipped, up 11.4 per cent year-on-year (the strongest growth figure, just edging out Lenovo).

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But while the major players looked relatively healthy, minor vendors took a big hit, with the companies outside the top five – all lumped into the "other" category by IDC – seeing shrinkage to the tune of 17.9 per cent. That meant the overall market actually shrank by 1.7 per cent compared to Q3 2013 (with a total of 78.5 million units shipped globally).

Still, that was better than the forecasted decline of 4 per cent, but it's still not a great performance for this time of year.

Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide PC Trackers at IDC, commented: "Although shipments did not decline as much as feared, these preliminary results still show that 3Q14 was one of the weaker calendar third quarters on record in terms of sequential growth. The third quarter has historically been driven by back-to-school sales and renewed business purchasing, which were weaker than normal this year."

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He cautioned: "The current growth of lower-priced systems, while encouraging in the short run, brings concern for the long term viability of vendors to adequately remain in the PC space."