Apple’s laptop sales are booming, up 61 per cent in the second quarter, and the good news is impacting the company’s notebook OEM, Quanta, which announced an 18 per cent increase in profit this morning, on strength of Mac sales.

Apple last week confirmed 2.29 million Mac sales in its second quarter. Mac sales overall climbed 51 per cent, year-on-year, a rate of growth an astonishing 3.5 times that of the overall PC market. Desktop sales climbed 37 per cent, also faster than PC market averages,

The company’s portable sales were driven by continued strong demand for Macbook, Macbook Pros and the MacBook Air. This steady demand meant Quanta Computer saw profits climb 18 per cent to book NT$4 billion for the quarter. The OEM observed strong demand for notebooks, predicting demand would climb 25 per cent in the current quarter.

Apple’s no niche player, the company explained, with management and analysts agreeing the Apple-driven laptop sales explosion seems set to continue, despite the downturn. Apple accounts for 25 per cent of Quanta revenue.

"Notebook growth is coming in faster than we expected," said Quanta Vice Chairman C.C. Leung. "There’s some slowdown from the U.S., but Asia and emerging markets are still seeing growth. So far things look positive for overall notebook demand."

The consumer move to favour laptops is posing an interesting new challenge for Apple’s notebook maker – the company has confirmed components for laptops, principally those used to make laptop enclosures, are running in short supply. Quanta management said this would be unlikely to affect Apple and other larger brands, but would definitely impact the smaller notebook brands.

The surge in Mac sales isn’t simply a fashion, but could become a tipping point, as Apple CEO Steve Jobs said last October: “The question is, are we headed for a tipping point, it sometimes feels like that."

NPD recognises significant gains in Mac notebook sales, which the researchers claim rose 64 per cent in units and 67 per cent in revenues year over year.

Apple seems set to continue to expand its marketshare – and Quanta’s profits – on strength of strong notebook sales. According to IDC, some 23.5 million computers were sold in the first quarter of 2008 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, which is equivalent to 19 per cent sales growth over Q1 2007. Market growth is the result of the growing popularity of notebooks. While sales of desktop PCs fell by 1.7 per cent to approximately 10.5 million items, sales of notebooks grew by 43 per cent to 13 million items, IDC said. Apple’s overall Mac sales in Europe climbed 45 per cent in the March quarter, the company’s financial results confirm, with 627,000 Macs sold (both desktop and laptops).


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