Apple and Increasing Market Share

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Apple Inc. is a successful developer of both computers and consumer electronics. The company’s most popular products include Macintosh computers, iPod mp3 players, iPhone smartphones and most recently the iPad, which is a hybrid of a tablet computer, and an eReader. Apple’s Macintosh computers, iPods, iPhones, and iPads all share characteristics that make them part of the general information technology industry. However, since they are very different products each belongs to a more specific industry. The Macintosh computers are included in the personal computer industry, iPods in the personal media player category and, depending on the model, the mobile internet device (MID) market and iPhones to the smartphone and MID industry. The iPad has not been released to the general public yet, but considering its various features it could belong to many markets. However, it will most likely be competing with the internet tablets, netbooks, and eReaders. Considering their competitors, one could surmise that the iPad will belong to both PC and eReader markets. By incorporating market assessment and predictions for each of Apple’s products, as well as consumer research into the promotional strategy, Apple will be able to improve its product sales 10% over 2011. Macintosh computers are Apple’s oldest product category. Their price point is significantly higher than Windows based PCs. This knowledge, combined with Apple’s popular Mac vs. PC television ads, can tell us a little bit about Apple’s target consumer. In the Mac vs. PC ads, Mac is represented by a young, trendy individual while PC is represented by a middle-aged nerd. This depiction of Mac, coupled with its higher prices (the cheapest Mac sells for $999), tells us that Mac is trying to attract younger individuals, within the 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44 age bracket with a higher-than-average income of the $50,000-$79,000 bracket and above. Due to the higher price point, Apple is targeting college graduates, because they tend to make more money. In the famous Mac vs. PC ads, Mac is portrayed by a male actor indicating that the company’s target market may be slightly more aimed at males than females (Get a Mac - Watch the TV Ads). Maintaining the current target market appears to be a wise strategy since reducing prices now in order to attract less affluent consumers could risk Apple’s image as a status symbol and its brand equity, especially when one considers a recent study of Apple consumer psychographics in which Mac users were considered to be less modest and more assured of their self superiority than the general population. I would recommend, however, that the Macintosh not entirely dismiss the female audience or older consumers. Older consumers tend to have more disposable income than the younger consumer. Therefore, with the brand’s higher price point, it would make sense to include the 45+ consumers in promotional strategy as well (Fried). As part of the personal computer industry, Macs are subject to several trends occurring within the industry. First, industrial design is becoming much more important in the minds of consumers than technological features. Consumers want computers that are more portable and can handle work and school requirements. Lower-priced mini-notebooks are becoming increasingly popular with consumers. It should be noted that the according to Gartner, ‘mini-notebooks were the only growing PC segment in 2009.’ In another recent study by Gartner, it was predicted that by 2014 in a mature market, design would be the primary reason 20% of consumers will decide to purchase a new computer. However, computer firms should consider not only the outward design of the machine. Consumers also want user-friendly systems that work well with their other electronic devices. The second factor impacting the personal computer market is increased concentration on targeting even younger consumers. The main features expected to entice these youths are touchscreens and...
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