SAN FRANCISCO—Thanks to surging iPad sales, Apple Inc. soared to the top of the heap in worldwide mobile PC shipments in the fourth quarter, garnering a 17.2 percent market share, according to market research firm DisplaySearch.
Apple (Cupertino, Calif.) shipped more than 10.2 million notebook and tablet PCs combined in the fourth quarter, nearly a million more units than Hewlett-Packard Co., DisplaySearch said. While the iPad is benefiting from a first-mover advantage, particularly in mature markets, Apple's notebook PC shipment growth rate continues to exceed the industry average, according to the firm.
"While we anticipate increased competition in the tablet PC market later this year with the introduction of Android Honeycomb-based tablets, Apple’s iPad business is complementing a notebook line whose shipments widely exceed the industry average growth rate," said Richard Shim, senior analyst at DisplaySearch. "Apple is currently benefiting from significant and comprehensive growth from both sectors of the mobile PC spectrum, notebooks and tablet PCs. Cannibalization seems limited at this point."
Total fourth quarter worldwide mobile PC shipments—including tablet PCs—grew to 59.6 million units, but 8 percent compared to the third quarter and up 17 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2009, according to DisplaySearch. Fourth quarter shipments of mobile PCs were likely the highest in any quarter ever—DisplaySearch said it was the highest volume of shipments since the firm began tracking the segment in 1999.
Among the top five brands in the mobile PC market, Japan's Toshiba Corp. was the only other company to exhibit year-to-year shipment growth in the fourth quarter, DisplaySearch said. Toshiba’s fourth quarter shipments increased 15 percent year-to-year to more than 5.1 million units, DisplaySearch said. Toshiba retained its No. 5 ranking among mobile PC vendors.