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Many owners of Macintosh computers claim that Apple OS X is more comfortable and secure than Windows operating system, which is why they prefer Macs over personal computers running software from Microsoft. But with all the limitations of Macintosh systems, the vast majority of them still cannot live without a Windows PC at home, a study by NPD Group has found.

According to NPD Group’s 2009 Household Penetration Study, approximately 12% of all U.S. computer owning households own an Apple computer, up from 9% in 2008. While Apple ownership is growing, those households are decidedly in favor of mixed system environments.  Of those 12%, nearly 85% also own a Windows-based PC, which means that the vast majority of Macintosh systems are acquired in order to try something new and their users may not be too loyal to Apple.

Multiple computer ownership is a common thread in Apple computer households, with 66% of households owning three or more computers, compared to just 29% of Windows PC households.  Apple owning households are decidedly more mobile as well, with 72% of them owning a notebook, whereas only 50% of households that have a Windows PC own a notebook. While the information seems to be in Apple’s favour, a logical explanation may be rather trivial: owners of multiple Windows PCs also own Macintosh computers and since owners of multiple computers have higher income, they also purchase more electronics in general.

“While Apple owners tend to own more computers and more electronics devices, there is also a high correlation among Apple owners and more affluent consumer households. 36% of Apple computer owners reported household incomes greater than $100 thousand, compared to 21% of all consumers. With a higher household income, though, it’s not a surprise that those consumers are making more electronics purchases,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis. 

Not only do Apple computer owners own more computers (and more mobile computers) than the norm they also tend to own more types of electronics, and more of them, than typical computer owning households, according to NPD. For example, while 36% of total computer owning households have an iPod, 63% of Apple households have one. And while almost 50% of Apple owners own some type of navigation system, only about 30% of all computer households own one.

“The average Apple household owns 48 CE devices whereas the average computer household owns about 24. Apple household owners’ actions and purchases can be used by the industry as leading indicators for hot new products and adoption,” said Mr. Baker.

Tags: Apple, Mac, Macintosh

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