US sales of Apple Mac computers fall by 16 per cent

Sales of Apple Mac computers in the US fell by 16 per cent in February this year whilst Windows-based PC sales rose by 22 per cent, according to a report released by research group NPD.

Unit sales of Macbook laptops dropped seven per cent with the popularity of low-cost netbooks being credited with Windows laptops rise in sales of 36 per cent - without netbooks, Windows laptops sales rose by 16 per cent.

This news comes just head of Apple's launch of the next version of its iPhone operating system, iPhone 3.0 at an event held today in California.

NPD figures are a closely watched measure for Apple sales, but they do not include data on direct sales from PC makers such as Hewlett Packard and Dell. The figures include sales from Apple stores, retailers such as Best Buy and e-commerce sites such as Amazon. NPD analyst Steve Baker said Apple's high-priced products are proving to be a tougher sell as US consumers struggle through a crippling recession.

He said: "I think the issue for them remains pricing in this kind of an environment."

However, Baker noted that "demand is difficult everywhere ... even though Apple unit volumes may be challenged right now, at the end of the day, they're a lot more likely to be profitable than other manufacturers."

Prices also came down in February. The average selling price on Mac laptops dropped around seven per cent to $1,512 (1,078), NPD said. On the Windows side, netbooks' popularity was evident as the average sale price on laptops tumbled 22 per cent to $560.

Mac desktop units fell 36 per cent in February, while Windows-based desktops dropped 10 per cent.

Apple refreshed its line of desktops two weeks ago, and analysts expect sales to pick up in March.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.