Apple's holiday Mac shipments outpaced PC growth by largest margin in 5 years

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited February 2014
While some pundits speculate that Mac lineup could be on the way out in favor of the iPad, Apple's traditional notebooks and desktops outpaced the overall PC market by nearly 25 percent last quarter, representing the largest margin separating the two in five years.

Needham


Apple's successful holiday quarter was highlighted this week by analyst Charlie Wolf with Needham & Company, who questioned whether the strong performance by the Mac is "a one-quarter blip" amidst a sinking PC market.

Mac shipments grew 18.1 percent in the December 2013 quarter, which outpaced the overall PC market by 24.7 percent. The year over year increase in Mac sales was a reversal for Apple, which has not been immune to consumer adoption of touchscreen tablets such as the iPad.

Overall PC shipments, which are dominated by Windows machines, have been shrinking year over year for the last seven quarters. Apple has also seen its Mac shipments decline in some quarters, but the company has still gained market share vs. Windows PCs in all quarters since 2005 but one.

The Mac's unit share of the worldwide PC market has grown from 2.1 percent in 2005 to 5.5 percent in 2013. Apple's revenue share growth has been even greater, surging from 3.2 percent to 10.4 percent.

Needham


As for Apple's particularly strong growth in the December quarter, where it posted sales of 4.8 million units, that was aided by a favorable year-over-year comparison: In the same period in 2012, Apple faced a severe shortage of its redesigned iMac, which limited Mac shipments in the quarter. That ended up being the lone quarter where PC shipments outgrew the Mac.

"The question we don't have an answer to is whether Mac shipment growth can overcome the headwinds of negative growth in PC shipments," Wolf wrote. "While the Mac represents a small fraction of Apple's revenues, it nonetheless is an important barometer of the health of Apple's ecosystem."

Wolf believes that tablets have "undoubtedly" cut into PC sales, though he questions the "magnitude of this effect" so far. He suggested that sales of the iPad might adversely affect Mac sales more than traditional Windows PCs.

"Shoppers at the Apple Stores most likely consider both a MacBook and an iPad for their next purchase," he said. "The allure of an iPad is undoubtedly far greater when it is in close proximity to a MacBook than it is in other shopping venues."

In a separate note issued earlier this month, Wolf detailed how Apple has held the Mac's average selling price steady at $1,300, even as overall PC prices have trended downward with the popularity of netbooks, and later tablets. The steady pricing helps to explain how Apple's dollar share of the PC market has outgrown its market share over the last decade.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50

    I never trust analysts.  They just rely on guesswork.

  • Reply 2 of 50
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,641member

    Either way, Apple is doomed. I haven't seen any signs of doomness, but Apple is still doomed somehow. 

  • Reply 3 of 50
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,942member
    I'm Apple all the way and am happy Macs are growing faster than PCs (actually growing instead of falling) but graphs like these are why I hate graphs. Going from 2.1% to 5.5% worldwide marketshare in 8 years is the most critical information mentioned in this article. Tons of people are still buying Windows PCs, not Macs, and until Macs are closer to 50% of the mix, Apple is still behind. iOS devices are secondary computers for many people and they are killing Microsoft devices but now they have to fight Android garbage. Twist and turn the numbers any way you want then use them to justify an article just doesn't make it. It's the same garbage analysts use when talking about increases made by Apple competitors. Their sales go up 100% while Apple's only goes up 5% but Apple is talking about millions of units sold while the others are talking about thousands. Statistics are always used to justify someone's position but rarely mean everything.

    I am very happy Macs are still selling into every market although I wish they were selling more into the government (one of the largest continuous buyers of PCs).
  • Reply 4 of 50
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,575member
    Doomed. Rules of Apple punditry:
    1. Apple is doomed.
    2. Bad news for others is actually worse news for Apple
    3. Good news for Apple is actually bad news
    4. Only Apple needs revolutionary products
    5. Apple must maintain margins AND sell no-profit phones.
  • Reply 5 of 50
    BYOD will drive the business purchases in general down. The growth market for Macs is home and education (all those cheap 10 year old pcs are dying, and and edu discount mac Mini and/or macbook air make huge sense for an iPad leading market).

    Most businesses that have 'We only allow PCs in our corporate fiefdom' are moving to 'Our apps are in the cloud' in either a true web app, or in a Virtual Desktop Instance (VDI). As Business move understand the cost of provisioning PC hardware is crazy expensive, they will stipend their worker bees to get their own laptops. Most will be program discounts at dell, hp, or lenovo... but some people will buy Macs.

    In the end... Only the corporate elite, and the critical few power users [Real power users will have an AWS farm at their disposal, gone is the day where I need a 16core processor on my desk, when I can buy 128 cores the 3 days a month when I need them... a Macbook Pro and a couple TB screens is all I need to do my job from work and home] will have corporate owned hardware... and even there, the Mac Pro and the iPad Air will carve into PC sales.

    [disclaimer... I work in corporate consulting focusing on transformation of IT into a secure, fully extensible model... part of what I say may be marketing;-)]
  • Reply 6 of 50

    For corporations and for most home users, isn't it about dollars and cents.   Corporations look at the laptop or computer as a tool to produce work (i.e. spreadsheets, docs, etc.)  They want a reliable platform to do that work.  They don't see the return for the additional cost of a Mac.  It is that simple.   We tried some Apple products at our corporation.  The results were a lot of extra cost on monitors and devices and productivity no different.  In fact, many people used the iPads for virtual desktops for Windows.    If money is no object, Apple products are fun and useful!!!  

  • Reply 7 of 50
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,113member
    sudonym wrote: »
    I never trust analysts.  They just rely on guesswork.
    And you make this brilliant comment on what authority and what proof to substantiate it?
  • Reply 8 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SudoNym View Post



    I never trust analysts.  They just rely on guesswork.


    And you make this brilliant comment on what authority and what proof to substantiate it?

    Analysts are always wrong. 

  • Reply 9 of 50
    512ke512ke Posts: 776member
    Wolf thinks the negative effects tablets have on PC sales is overstated.

    Then how does he explain the decline in PC sales?

    I would argue that PC sales are declining due to the rise of tablets AND smartphones. BOTH these devices are used for stuff that could be done previously only on desktop hardware.
  • Reply 10 of 50
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I'm more interested in why they are still graphing the data with Lotus 1-2-3.

    sudonym wrote: »
    I never trust analysts.  They just rely on guesswork.

    It's analysis which is using historical models and there are estimates so there is a margin of error but it's not guessing.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    ingelaingela Posts: 217member
    and that is with zero advertising. I would have thought that with the Windows 8 fiasco and rave reviews of Mavericks they would have pounced at the opportunity.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    I love how analysts just can't believe that Apple continues to do well and that it MUST be an anomaly...

    "Apple's successful holiday quarter was highlighted this week by analyst Charlie Wolf with Needham & Company, who questioned whether the strong performance by the Mac is "a one-quarter blip" amidst a sinking PC market."

    Successful holiday quarter? Wait a minute, Charlie%u2026I thought Apple had a disappointing holiday quarter and didn't meet the "inflated" expectations by you and your manipulating cohorts?
  • Reply 13 of 50
    Great news for Apple. I really like Apples current Mac lineup. Will certainly get a retina display Macbook Pro once may 15inch Macbook Pro dies on me. Good news for me is, it still has couple of years for sure. The high quality of Apples Macs is a blessing for customers but also a little bit of curse for the company itself. Makes Mac-users hold on to their products longer and slows sales growth of the company. Great to hear they still outpacing PC sales by quite an amount.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,067member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I'm more interested in why they are still graphing the data with Lotus 1-2-3.
    ...
    It's analysis which is using historical models...

    Just answered your own question, I guess.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    It absolutely *IS* guessing. History is not a reliable predictor of what will happen in financial markets. There are too many variables. The extent to which guesswork is involved varies from analyst to analyst, but there is always guesswork involved.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    "The allure of an iPad is undoubtedly far greater when it is in close proximity to a MacBook than it is in other shopping venues."

    Yes, those Dell cr*pbooks compare much more favorably to an iPad at Best Buy than MacBook Airs at the Apple Store. How do these "analysts" even stay employed?
  • Reply 17 of 50
    dreyfus2 wrote: »
    Just answered your own question, I guess.

    That's really scary if they are using Lotus 1-2-3.

    djbeta wrote: »
    It absolutely *IS* guessing. History is not a reliable predictor of what will happen in financial markets. There are too many variables. The extent to which guesswork is involved varies from analyst to analyst, but there is always guesswork involved.

    In this context they aren't the same.

    As for the historical data we're talking about maths here. Graphing a chart that shows a pattern and predicts a model doesn't say you're beholden to that prediction as fact but simply that the pattern shows a particular sequence. That sequence is always subject to change when new data (i.e.: facts) are presented but you can't simply say that these mathematical models are simply guesswork because it's not accurate.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,575member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    That's really scary if they are using Lotus 1-2-3.
    In this context they aren't the same.

    As for the historical data we're talking about maths here. Graphing a chart that shows a pattern and predicts a model doesn't say you're beholden to that prediction as fact but simply that the pattern shows a particular sequence. That sequence is always subject to change when new data (i.e.: facts) are presented but you can't simply say that these mathematical models are simply guesswork because it's not accurate.

    It's an educated guess but it's still a guess.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,606member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SudoNym View Post

     

    I never trust analysts.  They just rely on guesswork.


     

    What would you prefer they rely on, a crystal ball?

     

    Any predictions for the future will rely on a fair bit of guesswork.  It's the quality of the information used to backup the guesswork, and the shrewdness of the analyst that makes the difference.

  • Reply 20 of 50
    jungmark wrote: »
    It's an educated guess but it's still a guess.

    1) Qualifying the word guess with educated changes the meaning from simply calling a guess.

    2) In finance terms like guess, estimate and predictive modeling are not interchange. One can't say that graphing historical data then drawing a line to show change into the future is a guess, educated or not, because at that point you haven't made any guesses, you've only extrapolated the facts to determine probability.


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