Not 70% penetration, but Mac gains still big on campus

August 8, 2010

One of last week’s big headlines, attributable to analyst Trip Chowdhry and reported as fact both here and elsewhere, was that 70 percent of incoming college freshman would be carrying Macs. At least one respected source disputes that claim, though the situation’s poor and getting worse for Microsoft in this crucial market.

Last week, Blorge and most of the mac blogsphere reported that 70 percent of college freshman will bring Macs to school this Fall. Though that may be true on some campuses, the the overall trend is good but not that good.

Fortune, quoting Student Monitor monitor data, reports that Apple’s share of the higher education market has grown from the mid-teens five years ago to nearly 50 percent. Once dominate Dell has fallen behind and buying intentions indicate the trend will continue.

Whereas we don’t know where Chowdhry got his numbers, Student Monitor states that it interviewed 1,200 students from 100 representative campuses for 55 minutes each, yielding some interesting data:

      • 95 percent of college students interviewed this Spring owned at least one computer
      — 83 percent owned a laptop, 24 percent a desktop, 15 percent both

      • Among the laptop owners, 27 percent* owned Macs

      • Among the desktop owners, 45 percent owned a Dell or HP and 14 percent a Mac
      — 41 percent of students overall* own Macs

      • Among those who planned to purchase a new computer, 87 percent planned to buy a laptop.
      — 47 percent of these intend to buy a Mac

The above data mirrors information collected by the University of Virginia, where Mac adoption has trebled in five years.

So, yes, Apple’s the most popular brand on American college campuses. Yes, Mac using students likely will be in the majority soon at many schools.

But, 70 percent? That happy day hasn’t yet arrived…

What’s your take?

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