iMac 8G (Design 001)

As per its annual survey of top consumer electronics that are planned for holiday purchases, Market research firm Parks Associates reported that Mac desktops for the first time have usurped Dell and other competitors such as Hewlett-Packard and Acer as the most sought-after desktop PCs this holiday shopping season.

Back in 2012, Apple was ranked second so this jump in popularity clearly indicates that a lot of people are now digging Apple’s latest desktop Mac hardware. Back in 2011, Apple was ranked third in the category.

Not only is the sweet victory a nice testament to Apple’s design and engineering prowess, it’s humiliating to Dell, the computer maker whose CEO fifteen years ago infamously advised leadership of the then-nearly bankrupt Apple to sell off the company and return the money to shareholders…

Data was gathered from Parks Associates’ nationwide survey of 2,500 U.S. broadband households in the fourth quarter of 2013. John Barrett, director of Consumer Analytics with Parks Associates, commented:

Apple topped the list of intended brands for desktop purchases for the first time this year. In 2011 and 2012, Dell was the top desktop brand, but Apple has displaced it, making Apple now the most popular brand across even more key CE categories.

Following the #1 Apple, other sought-after desktop brands include #2 Dell, #3 Hewlett-Packard, #4 Acer and #5 Asus.

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However, Apple reigned supreme in two other important categories, tablets and streaming media devices.

The iPad proved the most popular brand among tablet shoppers in Parks Associates’ research, followed by the Amazon Kindle, Samsung tablets, Microsoft’s Surface and Acer. As for streaming media devices, the Apple TV has remained the top brand, followed by the Roku, Buffalo, D-Link’s Boxee Box and Netgear hardware.

Barrett explained that being the preferred brand is no guarantee that consumers won’t change their minds.

For example, with streaming media players, Apple is the preferred brand, but many shoppers ultimately end up getting a Roku. Last year, among younger (18-34) shoppers for this device, 34 percent planned to buy an Apple, and 15 percent planned to buy a Roku. In a later survey of actual purchases, we found 24 percent bought an Apple TV and 29 percent bought a Roku player.

Apple of course in September 2012 updated its popular iMac all-in-one desktop lineup with Intel’s fourth-generation Core processors (the Haswell platform), in addition to the faster Nvidia GeForce 700 graphics, Gigabit Wi-Fi and PCI-Express based flash storage.

And if a pre-ordering page by a German retailer is anything to go by, Tim Cook & Co. are gearing up to launch the long-expected and radical Mac Pro update later this month.