The cold hard figures are clear. February sales in the US of Apple Macintosh computers went down 16%, while sales of Windows-based computers went up 22%. In the laptop department, Apple's sales dropped 7%, while Windows-based laptop sales increased by 36%. Netbooks play an important role here, since if you take the netbooks out of the total figures, Windows laptop sales went up "only" 16%. The figures are all year-over-year, so February 2009 is compared with February 2008.
Desktops continued to lag behind laptop sales. Apple's desktop sales dropped by a staggering 36%, while Windows-based desktop sales declined by 10%. It is important to note, however, that Apple's recent across-the-board desktop update might reinvigorate desktop sales in March. NPD also explained that "demand is difficult everywhere [...] Even though Apple unit volumes may be challenged right now, at the end of the day, they're a lot more likely to be profitable than other manufacturers." Apple has very decent margins on its products.
As always with statistics, there are a few important notes to take into account. The statistics do not take direct sales from HP or Dell into account. The figures come from Apple Stores, retailers like Best Buy, and online shopping sites like Amazon.com. Wal-Mart is not included.
From this data, we can draw a few careful conclusions for the US market. First of all, I think we can all agree by now that netbooks are not a fad, and that Apple not having one is having a limiting effect on its notebook sales. We can also see, again, that desktop sales are declining and that people rather buy laptops and netbooks instead.
We can also see that Apple is taking a serious hit in sales again last month (like January), however, they are still seen as in good shape mostly thanks to Apple's higher margins as well as the expected boost in sales in March thanks to the desktop refresh.