Apple has exceeded average PC market growth in the European markets in the second quarter 2005.

The company achieved 48 per cent market growth (year-on-year) in the European, Middle East and African (EMEA) markets.

This contrasts with the 23 per cent growth of the PC market as a whole, according to new research from analyst firm, IDC.

Apple's 48 per cent growth is eclipsed by Acer's 68.4 per cent, as the latter firm maintains an aggressive grab for market share here.

Apple has itself eclipsed the achievement of Europe's second biggest supplier, Dell, which achieved 32 per cent growth.

Apple ships 283,000 Macs

In the quarter, HP led the market, with 2,436,000 units shipped and 20.8 per cent growth. Dell shipped 1,928,000 PCs. Apple shipped 283,000 Macs in EMEA, according to IDC, for 2 per cent market share.

While statistically this means Apple remains a junior player in contrast to Dell or HP, its 48 per cent unit sales growth eclipses all others, bar Acer.

Apple desktops drive results

Desktop sales remain strong in EMEA, while falling notebook prices continue to drive business customers to portable solutions, IDC confirmed.

Apple's notebooks have driven much of the company's successes in recent years, but the tide is turning for the company.

In a pattern that presumably underlines the increased urgency with which Apple's management must consider the importance of significantly revising its notebook products, its desktop sales have seen significant growth.

IDC senior research analyst Ian Gibbs told Macworld: "Apple's desktop growth has been particularly strong - much stronger than its notebook segment."

IDC is still analysing the results of its quarterly EMEA PC market survey, so Gibbs declined to furnish further details.

Market analysis

The EMEA market remains price-driven, with lower costs of entry helping to maintain growth.

"Consumers continued to respond very positively to increasingly attractive price points, which assisted strong double digit growth in both the consumer notebook and desktop market," IDC said.

Elsa Opitz, research manager for IDC's EMEA Quarterly PC Tracker warned of patchiness in Europe's business market, particularly in Germany and Italy as a result of fragile economic conditions.

"Renewal trends are slowing down in the UK," Opitz explained, adding, "the Nordic region continued to enjoy very healthy growth rates."

Looking ahead, IDC expects unit growth will be higher due to notebook sales, though in revenue terms forecasts are likely to remain flat, due to the price-driven nature of the current marketplace.

Apple continues to gain

Apple continues to gain glory at present, as its successful digital music products drive interest in the brand, and its advanced technologies continue to press home the company's market offerings.

The company recently revealed the best financial quarter in its history, with a $320 million profit.

And analysts at Needham & Co. this week claimed that in excess of 400,000 Windows users have acquired Macs so far this year, driven by Apple's gleaming "iPod halo" factor.

That halo looks set to remain rosy for some time to come. A recent study in the US found that over 32 million Americans plan to buy an iPod by the end of 2006.

This week, Apple broke another record. It became the world's first legitimate music service to sell 500,000,000 tracks through its iTunes Music Store.