2011’s Number 1 PC Manufacturer

Despite an ongoing global recession, Mac sales have been growing at an average of 26.7 percent year over year (YoY) for the last five years – nearly 3 times the rest of the industry’s 9.7 percent YoY growth rate. Last quarter Apple sold 4.13 million Macs, which accounted for 5.43 billion dollars in revenue. This means the average selling price (ASP) of Macs was a resounding 1314.77 dollars – probably 2 times the ASP of Windows-based PCs.

Gartner and IDC have gone out of their way to not call the iPad a PC. They make up names like “media tablets” and use euphemisms like “the iPad is only a content consumption device” to back up their baseless claims. These research firms do this to satisfy their customers (IT departments and businesses) who can’t bear hearing the straight, unabashed truth: the iPad is a PC.

The iPad is a PC, plain and simple. It’s actually the most personal personal computer in history. Nothing else even comes close.

Counting the iPad as a PC, Apple sold 29.2 million PCs in 2010. They sold 11.2 million PCs in 2009. In one year they grew a staggering 161 percent while the rest of the industry grew 14.2 percent. They outgrew their competitors by a factor of more than 10.

Original iPad sales estimates turned out to be way off the mark. In the 2 month period from its announcement to its release, every analyst predicted how many iPads Apple would sell. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster thought Apple would sell 4.3 million iPads in 2010. Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes thought Apple would sell 3.45 million iPads in 2010. Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf thought Apple would sell 2 million iPads in 2010. 

None of them were even close. Apple sold 3.4 times as many iPads as Gene Munster predicted, 4.3 times as many as Ben Reitzes predicted, and 7.4 times as many as Charlie Wolf predicted.

Now these same analysts say Apple will sell somewhere around 40 million iPads in 2011. There’s no way Apple will sell 3.4-7.4 times their estimates again, but Apple will definitely sell more than 40 million iPads. I think it’ll probably be closer to 65 million. Let’s put that in perspective:

HP is the largest PC manufacturer in the world. They sold 62.8 million PCs last year and grew 6.5 percent YoY. If that growth rate continues, they’ll sell 66.8 million PCs in 2011. But for argument’s sake, let’s give HP the benefit of the doubt and assume they’ll grow at Gartner’s 10.5 percent industry forecastWith that growth rate, HP will sell 69.4 million PCs this year.

That’s only 4.4 million more PCs than a very probable iPad sales number.

Apple sold 14.4 million Macs last year and grew 28.5 percent YoY. If that growth rate continues, they’ll sell 18.5 million Macs in 2011. Add that number to 65 million iPads and Apple will sell 83.5 million PCs this year.

By that estimate, not only will Apple be the world’s largest PC manufacturer, but they’ll sell 20 percent more than their closest competitor.