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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4 Responses to “Not 70% penetration, but Mac gains still big on campus”

  1. aquaadverse:

    Trying to get a grip on what Apple’s market penetration is in any market segment is like playing catch with Jello because of the irritating mixing of different categories that seems to be universal in Apple enthusiast’s blogs and reporting.

    Switching willy nilly between OS and hardware and specific vendors depending on which number makes Apple look dominate is confusing at best and misleading otherwise.

    Most start out citing Microsoft and Apple as OSes but then start jumping around tossing out individual Windows hardware vendors statistics versus the whole Mac aggregate.

    Student and the education market aren’t the same thing. The education market is labs, administration, software etc… it’s fairly common in articles like these to see some subset of the total market like using only Bookstore sales and using Apples share of that or using retail sales and ignoring millions of units ordered online

    “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”

    Is that the source of your 50% prediction?

    To make it even more murky, tossing out and mixing planing to buy as if it was an actual is pretty shoddy. 70% of incoming freshmen telling someone they plan to buy a Mac and 70% of incoming Freshmen actually having a Mac are very different.

    While it might be true that Apple might beat an individual vendor 68% of students using computers are still using Windows or a non-Apple.

    Hardly supports your giddy pronouncement of Apple being the most popular brand on American college campuses, even assuming that plan to buy leads to bought and have.

    Normal journalistic practice typically uses inverted an pyramid of stating the purpose of the article in the first paragraph and the evidence supporting it in subsequent ones . If you start out with Windows and Apple as the metric than you should stick with it.

    And why is the 70% article still up if you are now questioning it’s accuracy?

  2. Patrick:

    “questioning it’s accuracy” should be:
    “questioning its accuracy”.

  3. Partners in Grime:

    University of Virginia data paints a clear picture.

  4. aquaadverse:

    It might paint a clear picture of the University of Virginia, but even then

    “The following information was collected over the past 12 years by student employees of ITC, known as Computing Advisors (CAs), a group of first-year students hired to advise and assist their peers with computing. The data is based on a census of first-year residence halls each fall conducted by the CAs.

    Each year the computing inventory provides statistics regarding computer ownership; type of computer; operating system; network capability; peripherals; and in recent years, mobile device ownership, too—among incoming first-year students at UVa.”

    Is every first year student required to take this or only the ones in first year residence halls as stated on their website? What about the first year students students that live at home?

    http://www.virginia.edu/Facts/Glance_Enrollment.html

    42.8% live in University Housing

    I’m not going to bother to dig deeper, but the methodology is important and it seems we again get a subset and a percentage of that subset presented as a percentage of the total.

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