Good news for Apple (AAPL): People love their Macs, and more people want to buy them instead of Windows PCs. Potentially bad news for Apple: Two-thirds fewer people are planning to buy computers this holiday season, according to survey results published today by Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty. Key points:
- More people are “seriously considering” buying a Mac for their next PC purchase — 17% — than before — 14% two years ago.
- Mac owners love their computers. Some 77% of Mac owners are “extremely satisfied” with their computers, versus 56% of non-Mac owners. (Also better than 53% of “extremely satisfied” iPhone owners.)
- But just 3% of respondents plan to buy a PC during the holiday season, down from 9% last year and 6% in 2005.
- And just 24% plan to buy a PC during the next two years, down from 55% in 2005.
What’s that mean for Apple? Huberty lowered her estimate for calendar 2009 Mac shipments to 9.9 million units from 10.8 million units. (Flat year-over-year estimated shipments; no growth next year.) If true, that would be a huge loss for Apple: As iPod sales growth has slowed, Apple’s Mac business has been leading the company’s growth.
But we think Huberty is being too conservative here. We think Apple will continue to steal market share from rivals, and that Mac sales will continue to grow faster than the overall PC industry. So unless the PC industry shrinks dramatically next year, we think Apple’s Mac business will still grow.