For a company that doesn't market its products to the business world, Apple has been enjoying a surge in sales among corporate buyers.
The growth of the iPad maker in the corporate market last year proved to be a huge surprise, according to the new Forrester report "Global Tech Market Outlook For 2012 And 2013." Eyeing the landscape for this year and next, the research firm expects Apple to become even more of a disruptive factor in the battle for IT spending.
Apple doesn't break down its sales between consumers and corporations. But based on its own data, Forrester believes the company sold $6 billion worth of Macs and an equal value of iPads to the business market last year.
Looking ahead, Apple is projected to sell $9 billion worth of Macs and $10 billion worth of iPads to corporations this year, followed by $12 billion in Macs and $16 billion in iPads in 2013. In contrast, IT spending on Windows PCs and tablets is forecast to drop 3 percent this year and 1 percent next year.
Much of the business growth in Macs and iPads has occurred through indirect channels, since Apple typically does little to promote them specifically to corporate buyers. The consumerization of IT has also kicked up sales for Apple as more employees are eager to use their favorite consumers devices on the job.
Though Macs are still relatively scarce among large enterprises, the iPad has been getting some significant traction. Forrester says that regular reports point to Fortune 500 companies buying tens of thousands of iPads for their employees.
Smaller business owners have increasingly been picking up Macs and iPads for personal and professional use. Corporate workers are buying Macs and iPads on their own and then convincing their IT departments to support them and their companies to reimburse them. And some reports suggest to Forrester that this "take an Apple to work" strategy is working.
Until a couple of years ago, Apple was a minor player in the corporate arena against the likes of Dell, HP, IBM, and Lenovo. But the popularity of the iPad and the growing fondness for the Mac among professionals have boosted Apple's share of the enterprise market, notes Forrester.
The vast majority of IT computer budgets are still spent on Windows PCs. But Apple is grabbing more and more business in the PC and tablet market away from Windows and Microsoft's various hardware vendors.