Coke vs. Pepsi. Nike vs. Reebok. Nintendo vs. Sega. Of all the brand rivalries that have existed throughout consumerdom, few have loomed as large in the minds of shoppers as Mac vs. PC, to the point where Apple based an entire ad campaign on the Hatfield and McCoy-esque blood feud. (The effectiveness of those spots may come down to which actor people would prefer to spend an afternoon with—funnyman John Hodgman, or manboy Justin Long.)
A new survey by Parks Associates has revealed that for the first time in history, the intent by consumers to purchase a Mac as their next desktop computer outweighs the preference for Dell, the former desktop brand champ.
The survey results clarify that an intent to purchase can vary wildly from actual sales data. (And indeed, who's actually intending to buy a desktop computer anyway?) John Barrett, director of Consumer Analytics for Parks Associates, points out that "Being the 'preferred' brand is certainly an advantage, but consumers can still change their minds. For example, with streaming media players, Apple is the preferred brand, but many shoppers ultimately end up getting a Roku."
According to the survey, Apple is now the preferred brand across a number of different consumer electronics categories, including desktop computers, tablets, and streaming media devices. As for consumer electronics in general, Barrett says the market is holding firm: "The CE market is reaching a new equilibrium point where spending will hold steady."
The study raises an interesting question: exactly what marketing voodoo occurs in-store to convert an intended purchase of a preferred brand to a confirmed purchase of something entirely different? We suspect the answer is "confused and mystified moms," but we'll leave it to the experts to suss that one out. In any case, start looking forward to Christmas because dude: you're getting a Roku.