Apple’s Mac sales strong as PC market returns to growth

Apple(s aapl) is doing well in the PC market, even if you don’t count iPad sales in the mix. The latest numbers from IHS iSuppli reveal that during the second quarter of 2011, Apple saw double digit growth year over year in its worldwide PC sales, and is only one of three computer makers able to make that claim.

Overall, the PC industry showed positive growth during the quarter when compared to the same time last year, after sales contracted during the first quarter of the year. The big winners overall were Apple, Samsung and Lenovo, each of which saw double-digit growth versus the same period a year ago. Apple now sits at no. 7 overall among PC makers, and Samsung is just behind it at no. 8. Lenovo’s strong showing propelled it to the no. 3 spot.

Apple managed to achieved the third highest growth in the desktop PC category, behind only China-based hardware makers Lenovo and Haier. That’s probably due to its strong sales in China, where PC sales are taking off, according to iSuppli. Apple also had the third-largest growth of any notebook PC manufacturer, behind Lenovo and Samsung. Sales of the new MacBook Air likely played a role in its success.

Apple’s success has put it within striking distance of the top 5 global manufacturers, according to IHS iSuppli. Principal analyst Matthew Wilkins said that “Apple’s growth is attributable to its products being highly desirable and continuing to appeal to consumers, despite the weaker consumer demand environment,” and noted that Apple is now “within one percentage point” of breaking the top 5.

Acer experienced negative growth both sequentially and year over year, and HP (s hpq) was nearly flat during the second quarter compared to the first, so Apple could stand a good chance of making it into the top 5 during the next three-month period. Of course, if you count iPads in the mix, it’s already number one with a bullet, but it’s good to see that the Mac side of things is still performing well in its own right.