Many people setting out to buy a Mac end up buying from Dell, a top technology figure claims.

TechnoMetrica technology analyst Constantine Kambanis told MacNewsWorld: "Apple's name is quite strong, and many people think of Apple when they think of computers, but it seems likely that a significant segment of those who consider buying a Mac are unaware of what one actually is. Once they find out, many of them end up buying a Dell."

His claims are backed up by a study that indicates that 22 per cent of people who intended to buy an Apple computer end up buying a Dell machine. The same survey of computer buyers shows that only 50 per cent of potential Apple customers actually end up purchasing an Apple computer.

Kambanis believes Apple could extend its market share from the current 3 per cent if it could "figure out a way to exploit its solid brand recognition among consumers so that consumers view Apple as a viable PC option".

The price isn't right
"Apple can probably make significant headway in capturing more of the overall market – provided it can introduce a product that will be on par with [low-end offerings] from Dell or eMachines," Kambanis said.

This is because for 38 per cent of computer buyers price is the number-one driving factor in their decision. According to MacNewsWorld: "Although consumer-level Macs provide users with some features not found in a bargain-basement PC, many purchasers either are unwilling to pay for that additional functionality or have their needs met by a less expensive machine."

Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff agrees: "Certainly low price ends up being a big factor in Dell purchases. You get some conversions away from Apple because there are folks who really want – or at least are interested in – Macs but end up going with the lowest price."