It’s back to school time! Which means it’s time for frantic purchasing of all sorts of stuff one (or one’s kid) may or may not need for the school year. Of course, desktops and laptops are important and expensive items on those shopping lists, and research firm NPD this week reportedthat back-to-school PC sales are up about 3 percent from last year.
The primary beneficiaries appear to be Apple and makers of computers running Google’s Chrome operating system. According to NPD, Windows-based PCs slipped to about a 68.4 percent share of the U.S. market in the 10-week time period between July 4 and Labor Day week. That’s down from the 72.3 percent and 75.2 percent share enjoyed by Windows machines for 2013 and 2012, respectively.
Sales of Macs jumped up to a 26.8 percent share of sales during the back-to-school period this year, NPD reported. That’s bit of a bounce from the relatively steady 24 to 24.5 percent share the company enjoyed in 2012 and 2013. Apple laptops, specifically, enjoyed a 16 percent overall increase in sales year-over-year, the research firm reported.
Chrome OS laptops didn’t enjoy quite as big a bounce between this year and last as they did between 2013 and 2012, when sales of the notebooks jumped from 0.2 percent to 3.3 percent of the market. Chromebook did grow 4.5 percent in 2014 and represented more than 5 percent of all U.S. notebook sales in total. They also accounted for 18 percent of all notebooks sold under $300, NPD reported.
“After a slow start, aggressive pricing and robust selection drove significant volumes towards the end of the Back-to-School season, making it a very strong year,” said NPD vice president Stephen Baker, in a statement.
“Due to the success of the aggressive Windows notebook pricing during Back-to-School we could see a much more aggressive pricing strategy this holiday season as the seemingly stable PC volume environment emboldens the PC OEMs and the OS and chip suppliers to make a grab for market share while the industry remains relatively steady,” he added.
In total, retail PC sales jumped 3 percent from the same time period last year. That’s a bit of a turnaround from 2013, where PC sales actually dropped 2.5 percent year-over-year. Notebook sales contributed to the overall growth with a 3.4 increase in sales over last year, while desktop sales remained flat, according to NPD.