Apple’s overall market share has been growing over the past few years, but according to market research company NPD Group, Apple is crushing the competiton when it comes to the retail sale of computers costing more than $1,000. Apple now commands a 66 percent share of that market for brick-and-mortar sales.
Perhaps most impressive is that the 66 percent share applies to both the notebook and desktop markets.
“The competitive pressures aren’t the same for Apple as they are for other companies,” Stephen Baker, NPD’s vice president of industry analysis, told Macworld. “Other PC companies have to compete with consumer expectations on price and shelf space at the retailers. That’s the benefit of having your own stores.”
Baker said that having the ability to totally control the user experience at its retail stores has been a huge win for Apple. When people decide to buy a Mac, they will typically spend more than $1,000 simply because Apple only sells one computer — the Mac mini — that costs less than that figure.
“Apple does very well setting itself apart from the rest of the PC market,” said Baker. “They have a reputation for having product that are easier to use and more intuitive.”
Baker said that one of the benefits of Windows is that it is an open system, so lots of people can develop for it. Yet that’s also one of its disadvantages. Because Apple keeps a tighter rein on things, it can control quality better, said Baker.
Of course, the success of the iPod and iPhone certainly helps propel the Mac forward as well.
“Overall they are doing pretty well — you can’t argue with success,” said Baker.
[Updated on 5/21/08 at 8:53AM PDT to clarify that Apple's market share numbers are for retail store sales, not sales overall]