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November sales data: Mac desktops down, laptops strong


The NPD data for November retail sales have arrived, and the news is not that cheery: year-over-year Mac sales were flat last month, while Windows PC sales grew 7 percent over 2007's total. Desktops on both platforms got hammered, with 20% drops across both platforms -- Windows machines down 15% and Mac desktop sales down a dramatic 38%. Some of this may be attributable to the long-idle Mac mini (soon to be refreshed, we hear), static feature set of the iMac, and reduced purchasing of Mac Pros and iMacs by education and corporate customers, but consumer buying is clearly down for the desktop.

The tables are turned on the portable side: year over year, Mac laptop sales grew 22 percent for November vs. a Windows increase of 15%. This is good news for Apple's refreshed portables as customers do seem to be taking to the unibody models. It's not clear from the report whether the blossoming netbook category, which includes a sizable chunk of machines shipped with a flavor of Linux, counts entirely as Windows laptop sales or if it's chopped up by the shipping OS -- I'll try to find out. Update: NPD tells me that the Linux netbooks were included in the Windows sales number, but those configurations didn't make a material difference to retail sales.

Did your microeconomic purchasing plans for year's end get derailed by the macroeconomic circumstances? Let us know below.

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