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Firm says iPod growth waning, Mac share improving

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
A survey conducted by Cowen & Co. indicates that despite a perceived drop in demand for personal computers over the next 12-18 months, Mac share is improving, especially amongst prospective buyers. Meanwhile, the same survey hints that Apple's iPod market growth remains strong, but could be nearing its peak.

The survey, which polled over 1000 consumers during the first week of April, revealed that a full 50 percent of respondents have no plans to buy a PC during the next 12 to 18 months -- the highest ratio Cowen has witnessed with its surveys in the past 30 months. However, the firm said results still point to positive share momentum for Apple's Mac platform.

Mac Mind/Market Share

"Specifically, compared with our most recent survey in December, our newest survey documents positive momentum for Apple's plan-to-buy market share among [the 22.7 percent of] respondents who indicate they have 'definite' plans to buy system(s)," analyst Richard Chu wrote in a research note recapping the the survey.

Of those respondents who said they definitely planned to buy a computer in the next 12-18 months, 7.8 percent said they planned to buy a Mac. This compares to 7.0 percent in December and 6.1 percent in October. Along the same lines, HP gained ground from 17.4 percent in October to 18.4 percent in April, while Dell slipped from 37.8 percent to 33.8 percent. "Gateway/eMachines mindshare continued to slip significantly with Sony and IBM/Lenovo more or less holding ground," Chu added.

The analyst pointed out that Apple's share of planned notebook purchases has grown significantly since the company introduced its first Intel-based Mac notebooks. "As summarized below, among 'definites', Mac share of planned notebook buys increased to nearly 10 percent in this survey, up from 7.5 percent in December and 7.7 percent in October," he wrote. "The latter two surveyed pre- the launch of the first of the Intel based notebooks."

In contrast, the shift in planned desktop shares among "definites" was far less notable, with Mac desktops slipping a bit to 6.2 percent from 6.6 percent in December, Chu said. "Notably, among respondents who are 'considering' but have not yet decided on PC purchases, the survey suggests a positive inflection for Apple share of mind (reversing the deterioration posted in the December survey), for desktops as well as notebooks," he wrote. "We believe that this is attributable in part to a positive launch of Intel based Macs."

More importantly, the analyst said, the survey suggests Macs are gaining ground in Windows-centric households. "The current survey indicates Apple is gaining share of planned purchases in so-called Windows-centric households," the analyst wrote, referencing a 3 percent rise on this data point since October.

The Halo Effect

Based on results, the survey also offered further documentation of the so-called "iPod Halo Effect," which is the notion that strong sales of (and positive consumer experiences with) the iPod will translate into stronger Mac sales.

"Survey respondents' planned share of buys for Apple Macs at Windows centric households (recall the mean was 5.8 percent, among definites) is measurably higher among iPod-owning households (9.0 percent) than for those without iPods (2.8 percent)," Chu wrote. However, the analyst believes the Halo Effect may become less relevant as iPod pervasion increases dramatically in the future.

Consumers Signing up for Boot Camp?

Surprisingly, the majority of respondents to Cowen's April survey were not aware of Apple's ongoing transition to Intel processors, with just under 23 percent indicating that they heard of the change.

"This is higher than the 16 percent ratio registered in our July 2005 survey (just after the announcement) but not that much so, considering the passage of more than 10 months," Chu told clients.

Still, a substantially higher percentage of respondents (8 percent) indicated that they were more likely to buy a Mac over the next 12 to 18 months as a result of the transition, suggesting that the fundamental residual impact of the platform shift is a positive one.

Additionally, 20 percent of those surveyed said Apple's new Boot Camp software makes them more likely to buy an
Mac in the next 12-18 months. Among respondents with 'definite' plans to buy a computer in that timeframe, an even higher 42 percent said Boot Camp makes them 'more likely' to purchase a Mac.

"Thus, we think the survey provides definite empirical evidence that this dual OS implied by Boot Camp can only be viewed as a strategic positive for Apple," the analyst told clients. "Whether Boot Camp in fact delivers on this implied virtualization in final production remains to be seen."

Is iPod Growth Finally Stabilizing?

Since Cowen's October survey, respondents who say they own a digital music player increase from 37 to 42 percent, with iPod penetration rising from 19 to 25 percent.

"Since iPod households now own an average of 1.28 units per household, the actual iPod diffusion rate (total owned units per overall households) is now 31 percent in this survey sample, up 9 percent-points from October 2005, a dramatic step up," Chu wrote. Still, with the dramatic growth of digital music players over the past 24 months, the analyst worries that growth in the diffusion rate may have peaked.

"Said alternatively, this survey raises the possibility that digital music player purchase activity over the next 12-18 months may decline from the breakneck pace of the past year," he wrote.

Specifically, Chu said that less than 12 percent of respondents in this survey plan to buy a new player in the next 1 to 1.5 years, down from 15.5 percent in the October survey and 14.7 percent in the July 2005 survey. "True, another 24 percent of respondents indicate that they are 'considering' buying; but that is also lower than the 28 percent who put themselves in that category six months ago," he wrote. "Viewed alternatively, 64 percent of respondents have 'no plans' to buy, up from 57 and 56 percent in the last two surveys, respectively."

In general, the survey indicates that the iPod will likely continue to maintain a very substantial share lead over all other competitors for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the average iPod owner plans to spend about $72 over the next twelve months on digital downloads, well above the overall average of all digital music player owners combined. Likewise, the survey indicated that the average iPod owner expects to spend $109 over the next 12 months in peripherals, which again is substantially higher than spending from the non iPod music player customers.

Other notable statistics from the Cowen survey include: only 2.9 percent of respondents said they would replace their digital music player with a cell phone that could offer similar capabilities; and 52 percent said they had no interest in digital music players with expanded video capabilities.

While Cowen & Co.'s survey indicated that Apple's Intel transition challenges are more fully discounted than in the past, it did suggest potential for significant slowing in iPod growth. As a result, the firm is maintaining a "Neutral" rating on shares of the company's stock.
post #2 of 14
"To be fair, some nearly 45 percent of Mac-only households with definite plans to buy PCs in this survey plan to buy Windows PCs; consequently, the Mac base is not without leakage."

That has to be a typo! There is no way that half of Mac-only households plan to buy a PC as their next computer! Someone find out what crack these surveyors are smoking, please!
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by coxnvox
"To be fair, some nearly 45 percent of Mac-only households with definite plans to buy PCs in this survey plan to buy Windows PCs; consequently, the Mac base is not without leakage."

That has to be a typo! There is no way that half of Mac-only households plan to buy a PC as their next computer! Someone find out what crack these surveyors are smoking, please!

That's the way it's written in the note, but even looking at the graphs, I can't tell. The note is fairly rough in certain spots, like this one, so we'll just omit it for now. It doesn't sound right.

Thanks,

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
post #4 of 14
Thanks, Kasper. I was developing an ulcer there...
kc
post #5 of 14
After all that he maintains a neutral rating on the companies stock!! I take it he didn't take into account the possible iPhone, and other stuff. Apples shares will go up this year, and it's a transitional year, also there's Leopard. By 2008 the shares will double at the very least! This guy needs to stop smoking the funny stuff.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #6 of 14
Quote:
I take it he didn't take into account the possible iPhone, and other stuff.

He said :
only 2.9 percent of respondents said they would replace their digital music player with a cell phone that could offer similar capabilities

But I disagree with that strongly as well as the idea that Mac users would replace their windows-capable macs with PCs just to run windows. Every cellphone company on the planet is banking on digital music abilities. Video and music on cellphones is huge in other parts of the world.
post #7 of 14
So I guess the bottom line is not to let this firm handle your investments...

     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

MacBook Pro Retina, 13", 2.5 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD

iPhone 5s • iPad mini Retina • Chromebook Pixel • Nexus 7

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     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

MacBook Pro Retina, 13", 2.5 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD

iPhone 5s • iPad mini Retina • Chromebook Pixel • Nexus 7

Reply
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by coxnvox
"To be fair, some nearly 45 percent of Mac-only households with definite plans to buy PCs in this survey plan to buy Windows PCs; consequently, the Mac base is not without leakage."

That has to be a typo! There is no way that half of Mac-only households plan to buy a PC as their next computer! Someone find out what crack these surveyors are smoking, please!

45% would not be "leakage." It'd be a flood. I'm inclined to think it was actually 4.5%. And of that, I'd have to wonder how many are saying they'd buy a PC in addition to a Mac. In addition, that was probably before the Boot Camp announcement, which should cut that percentage down considerably. Why buy a single-OS PC when you can get the all-OS-capable Mac Mini? Unless, of course, you have a need for an ultra-cheap PC in the $399 price range and don't need the Mac OS, in which case even the Mini can't compete.
post #9 of 14
Besides that figure about mac households switching to PC (obviously it can't be true since I know mac people and none of them are planning on shipping), this study seems to be obvious.

The fact that Apple hasn't transitioned PowerMacs yet has an affect on the desktop market. Plus a lot of people feel the Mac Mini is overpriced. This would contribute to slightly lower desktop sales.

While I know of a lot of PC geeks switching to Apple because of the new Macbook Pros. The new regular Macbook should only boost that. So this is no suprise to me that the share is increasingly as much as it is.

Also the iPod sales slowing doesn't suprise me either. The reality is that Apple hasn't made any updates since the Fall except a smaller Nano. The pricing has remained the same and competitors have been matching prices. Apple obviously can't figure out how to get their touchscreen working or else they would have released the new iPod already but they should consider price changes on the product line if they want to stay ahead. Sales of iPods will probably slow even more unless they actually make the iPod more appealing.

I know its less appealing because I talk to people around campus (Seattle U) and it seems like people are less impressed with the iPod recently. I actually own a 60 GB Photo and I have no intention of updating my iPod anytime soon because the current line just isn't worth the cost for the features. If they released a better video iPod with a bigger screen and the ability to store higher res videos that would make a huge difference and thats why iPod sales are down. People are waiting for the new iPod, plan and simple.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by Ireland
I take it he didn't take into account the possible iPhone, and other stuff.

Or the iTablet, or the DVR Mini, or the displays with speakers built in, or a bunch of other shit that only exists on rumor sites.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by drakethegreat
[B]The fact that Apple hasn't transitioned PowerMacs yet has an affect on the desktop market. Plus a lot of people feel the Mac Mini is overpriced. This would contribute to slightly lower desktop sales.

Mac Mini rocketed to #2 on the daily (not hourly) top 10 chart in all of computers at Amazon since the boot camp news. #2 most purchased computer. Macbook #1. Think about it. Older iBooks have been in the top 10 since Janurary, so there are no problems getting rid of older inventory as far as I can tell. We will all find out more tomorrow at 2pm PST.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider


Still, a substantially higher percentage of respondents (8 percent) indicated that they were more likely to buy a Mac over the next 12 to 18 months as a result of the transition, suggesting that the fundamental residual impact of the platform shift is a positive one.


I still find it tragic that people are more likely to consider buying something on the basis of it's least relevant component i.e. the implication of what it could do. If they were looking to purchase on the basis of 'the free apps allow me to do something useful..' that would be better.

Still, if Apple is going to grab some of the sold-down-the-river-by-irrelevant-specifications crowd (the mentality that dictates the Windows market) then I guess they have to play ball.

McD
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
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Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
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post #13 of 14
Or, you could read 'PC' as most Mac users read 'PC' - a non-Apple computer. So, the question then becomes, "out of those households planning to buy a non-Apple computer, what %age are planning to buy a Windows system ?" (as apposed to Linux, presumably ?)

Now, the actual percentage of Mac households planning to buy a non-Apple computer in the first place might only be 0.01% - but 45% of them are getting a Windows one.

Bottom line - it's a meaningless statistic because the question is potentially loaded.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by Kolchak
45% would not be "leakage." It'd be a flood. I'm inclined to think it was actually 4.5%. And of that, I'd have to wonder how many are saying they'd buy a PC in addition to a Mac. In addition, that was probably before the Boot Camp announcement, which should cut that percentage down considerably. Why buy a single-OS PC when you can get the all-OS-capable Mac Mini? Unless, of course, you have a need for an ultra-cheap PC in the $399 price range and don't need the Mac OS, in which case even the Mini can't compete.

First, the macs are not being marketed, at this point in time, as being able to run windows and mac OS. So most people looking for computers are NOT going to know about this capability.

Second, why should someone pay twice as much money for a mac that can run windows (once adding in all the costs of the extra software you need) if they're probably just going to run windows anyway.

Take a $600 mini. Then add in another $50-$100 for, I don't know, a keyboard and mouse, which ridiculously still aren't available with the computer (that's right, apple's the only computer maker who can't make a cheap computer and ship it with a keyboard/mouse - its like the 80s/90s again!) Then add RAM. Then a $200 copy of windows. Need a monitor? Well, there's a ton of cash right there (esp. if you buy it from Apple). So now you're over $1000 (monitor or not).

And then what? Ma and Pa computer user are just going to start installing windows, dual booting the computer and all that, without getting tired of it and just leaving it in the OS that they 'need' to use (which is the only reason to get windows, right?). So now they're running windows 100% on the mac mini. For well over $1000 cost.

Seems to make those cheap PCs look more appetizing...
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