Apple's surprising sales in emerging markets like China & Latin America keep Mac growth ahead of PC

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited July 2014
Sales growth for Apple's Mac platform has outpaced the PC market for the 31st time in the past 32 quarters, keeping the trend alive. But surprisingly, Apple's premium-priced computers were actually driven by growth in emerging markets last quarter, new data shows.


Chart via Needham & Co.


The fact that the Mac outpaced the overall PC market last quarter is not surprising --?Apple has seen its share of the worldwide PC market grow from 2.1 percent in 2005 to 5.5 percent in 2013, Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf noted on Monday. But in the March quarter, Mac sales actually underperformed in established markets.

Year-over-year growth for Mac sales was down in North America, according to data from Gartner. In addition, PC sales growth exceeded the Mac in Europe and Japan.

But Apple's Mac platform saw explosive growth in Greater China, Asia Pacific, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), and Latin America. In particular, Apple saw explosive growth north of 20 percent in EMEA, and exceeded 25 percent year-over-year growth in Latin America.

Wolf, who summarized the data in a note to investors that was provided to AppleInsider, is baffled by this result.

"We can see no obvious explanation for the disparity between developed and developing regions," he said. "It could be a one-quarter blip, which only the data for June will reveal. Or it could represent an inflection point in the Mac's fortunes. Only time will tell."

Apple's growth in emerging markets comes in spite of the fact that the average selling price of a new Mac has remained well above $1,000, placing the devices in a class -- and price range -- beyond the low-margin nature of the rest of the PC business. Market watchers believe the continuing decline in PC sales is attributable to the rise of touchscreen tablets, particularly Apple's iPad and iPad mini, which compete at lower price points.

But it's also worth noting that Apple recently began experimenting with much lower pricing on its Mac lineup thus far in 2014. Notably, a lack of new next-generation chips from Intel has helped push Apple to focus on more affordable options with its latest Mac models.




In addition to the new $1,099 iMac that launched in June, Apple also slashed $100 off its suggested pricing for new MacBook Airs that debuted in April to a new entry price of $899, making them the most affordable mass-market notebooks the company has ever sold.

Resellers have undercut those prices even further, likely with the blessing of Apple, which does not itself offer regular discounts or promotional pricing. Steep discounts went into effect on the new MacBook Air and iMac models almost immediately, most notably pushing the entry-level iMac down from $1,099 to just $979 in sales late last month.

Those discounts, however, didn't take effect until Apple began launching its new 2014 Mac models in April, after the March quarter data from Gartner. That means that any results from sales and discounts in the just-concluded June quarter will not be revealed until the company's fiscal third quarter earnings call next Tuesday.

In the meantime, Apple's strong March quarter performance in emerging markets remains "counterintuitive," Wolf admitted.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    Apple' doomed I tell you...doomed!
  • Reply 2 of 25
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,998member
    Good news but doesn't this contradict an article from just the other day. I was just reading PED on Fortune where he pointed out it PCs only outpaced Apple because they included tablets in many counts but not iPads. So, do i assume this is a more accurate count of only Macs and PCs, no tablets from either side?
  • Reply 3 of 25
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,750member
    Good news but doesn't this contradict an article from just the other day. I was just reading PED on Fortune where he pointed out it PCs only outpaced Apple because they included tablets in many counts but not iPads. So, do i assume this is a more accurate count of only Macs and PCs, no tablets from either side?

    Seems to me that "computer" should be defined as "anything with a CPU that doesn't run iOS." That way we can be sure that iPads are not unfairly inflating Apple's numbers.

    (Of course, when counting tablet sales, anything from kid toys to dedicated readers to touchscreen computers should be counted to keep from unfairly inflating iPad numbers...)
  • Reply 4 of 25
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

    Seems to me that "computer" should be defined as "anything with a CPU that doesn't run iOS." That way we can be sure that iPads are not unfairly inflating Apple's numbers.

     

    Seems to me that you don’t get what a computer is.

  • Reply 5 of 25
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    bageljoey wrote: »
    Seems to me that "computer" should be defined as "anything with a CPU that doesn't run iOS." That way we can be sure that iPads are not unfairly inflating Apple's numbers.

    (Of course, when counting tablet sales, anything from kid toys to dedicated readers to touchscreen computers should be counted to keep from unfairly inflating iPad numbers...)

    LOL. It's so unfair for Apple to sell millions of iPads. Of course we have to fudge the numbers to take away the unfair advantage and help everyone's self esteem¡
    Seems to me that you don’t get what a computer is.

    I'm fairly confident that was sarcasm...
  • Reply 6 of 25
    Don't be fooled by Apple Latin America. They strongly encourage distributors to sell to worldwide brokers. Most of the sales are not going to Latin America.
  • Reply 7 of 25
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,453member

    What an analysis who is confused and can not explain the data. Okay hell must have frozen over that an analysis was unable to spin the data in a way which they could not manipulate it in a way which was bad for Apple and profitable to them.

     

    Maybe analysis operating theories have been wrong all along, maybe consumers given the choose of cheap over a product with real value they will choose real value.

     

    Or maybe the people with no money choose a phone over a PC and those with money bough a phone and a mac. So we now have phones canalizing cheap PC sales.

  • Reply 8 of 25
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member

    So Apple only failed to grow in a single market, the USA?

  • Reply 9 of 25
    Americans are so obsessed with cheap prices that they wouldn't know quality if it punched them in the face. I'm not surprised that growth would occur abroad and would not be surprised if that is the future Apple is banking on.
  • Reply 10 of 25
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by MikeSmoke View Post

    Americans are so obsessed with cheap prices that they wouldn't know quality if it punched them in the face.

     

    Pssh. Says you. I got punched in the face last week and it only cost me $4.95!

  • Reply 11 of 25
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,647member
    Doesn't Apple "surprise" these analysts all the time? Many analysts are surprised Apple still exists, still surprised Apple us making money, still surprised Apple does anything positive.
  • Reply 12 of 25

    If you think you might at some point want to develop an iOS app, you need to get a Mac. I don't think it explains all of the sales bump in emerging markets, but I'm sure it's responsible for some of it. That, and the fact that the emerging middle class there needs its status symbols and that glowing Apple logo in the back of the screen is as ostentatious as the "LV" pattern on a Vuitton purse.

  • Reply 13 of 25
    bocboc Posts: 72member
    Analysts may be confused or uncertain, but consumers know. They speak to and discuss with friends and co-workers.

    Computer users everywhere know quality and they know malware problems. They know effects of phishing and malware crap.

    That Apple is benefiting from consumers figuring out the right answer is not surprising.
  • Reply 14 of 25
    bocboc Posts: 72member
    Analysts may be confused or uncertain, but consumers know. They speak to and discuss with friends and co-workers.

    Computer users everywhere know quality and they know malware problems. They know effects of phishing and malware crap.

    That Apple is benefiting from consumers figuring out the right answer is not surprising.
  • Reply 15 of 25
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     
    Originally Posted by MikeSmoke View Post

    Americans are so obsessed with cheap prices that they wouldn't know quality if it punched them in the face.

     

    Pssh. Says you. I got punched in the face last week and it only cost me $4.95!


    That's because you get punched in the face every week so you get a multi-punch discount.

  • Reply 16 of 25
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    I see the growth of PC in the US, Europe and Japan as caused by two things. One that business is starting to pick up and two, the XP EOL situation. Lots of businesses are upgrading to avoid any problems with lack of support and security patches, especially since Chrome will be ending support for XP as well.

     

    In the emerging markets, I can only comment on Latin America but I have observed that wealthier people tend to buy Macs and people with lower income tend to get by on whatever they have, usually a handed down XP machine, at least until it breaks, and then buy the cheapest thing they can find, perhaps even a used PC. Nevertheless I am surprised how strong Mac sales appear in that chart for Latin America, because up until only a couple years ago it was almost exclusively Windows, at least in my experiences there.

  • Reply 17 of 25
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,736member

    Gartner seriously need to upgrade whatever junk they're using to generate charts.

  • Reply 18 of 25
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,758member

    Oh but I thought Apple's prices were keep Mac sales down because nobody can afford them? Hmm.....makes you want to rethink that IDC story from last week. 

  • Reply 19 of 25
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,695member
    mstone wrote: »
    I see the growth of PC in the US, Europe and Japan as caused by two things. One that business is starting to pick up and two, the XP EOL situation. Lots of businesses are upgrading to avoid any problems with lack of support and security patches, especially since Chrome will be ending support for XP as well.

    In the emerging markets, I can only comment on Latin America but I have observed that wealthier people tend to buy Macs and people with lower income tend to get by on whatever they have, usually a handed down XP machine, at least until it breaks, and then buy the cheapest thing they can find, perhaps even a used PC. Nevertheless I am surprised how strong Mac sales appear in that chart for Latin America, because up until only a couple years ago it was almost exclusively Windows, at least in my experiences there.

    Remeber it is far easier to get a big percentage increase if your volumes are already low.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    jbelkinjbelkin Posts: 74member
    Until recently, it was hard to buy macs in China not just distribution but because they really didn't understand why anyone would pay 5-10 times the price for a personal computer AND it didn't run WINDOWS out of the box (in Chinese, of course). But just like the switchover in the US in the 90's when PC users would/could not believe there was a better experience, once they started to see others using it and of course, as income rose and of course, the world class look & feel of a mac (along with the halo of an ipad & iphone & Steve Jobs), its not really a surprise ... and of course, like in the US, when you mostly use a computer to surf the net, watch videos, org photos and email, why not spend a littlemore to get a world class piece of hardware and the cachet of the Apple name?
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