Apple (AAPL): Can The Mac Make It Overseas?

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As PC sales begin to contract in the US, Apple (AAPL) is hoping to pick up sales overseas. If the new Gartner research on global PC sales is right, the Mac may have as much trouble in the international market as it has at home.

The Mac still benefits from Apple’s cult status which has also helped drive adoption of the iPod and iPhone outside America. But, the Mac is more expensive than most PCs and that can’t be overcome during a period when consumer confidence is down in every major country.

According to Reuters, “As U.S. demand for personal computers craters, Apple Inc is getting a boost from overseas PC sales, where iPods are hugely popular but Macs have not been a major presence.”

Some data suggests that Apple’s sales internationally were up modestly late last year. But, a month or two in the current economic crisis can be a lifetime especially¬†when it comes to product demand. Companies and individuals are keeping computers longer and often only replacing machines when they break down. The processors of PCs that are already two years old are usually good enough to handle most tasks.

The Mac’s enemy is not just the economy. In addition, PCs have become a commodity and the replacement cycle for them is getting longer. The older machines just work too damn well.

Douglas A. McIntyre