Gartner: Apple takes 9.7% share in Q4, grows Mac sales by 23%

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Gartner has released its own estimates on US and global PC markets for Q4 and 2010, which paint a slightly better picture for Apple and a slightly worse outlook for other PC makers, compared to its market research rival IDC. Both continue to ignore the iPad.



Like IDC's parallel report on the US and global PC markets, Gartner subtly cited the iPad as the reason of weak Q4 sales, but similarly included it among "media tablets," despite the iPad representing 95 percent of the "tablet market."



Gartner was unique in also attempting to blame the contracting US PC market on "other consumer electronic (CE) devices, such as game consoles," despite the fact that 2010 marked a year of notably sluggish games sales that prompted aggressive cuts in hardware prices that still did little to boost game console hardware sales.



Netbooks come and go



Like IDC, Gartner excluded Apple's iPad from its PCs sales, while continuing to count low end mini notebooks (aka netbooks). In 2008, Gartner said Acer and Asus both "had a strong focus and acted quickly in the mini-notebook segment," which at the time was representing huge growth potential in an otherwise weak market.



In 2009, Gartner reported that Acer's netbook sales had allowed it to claim over 60 percent growth in PC sales, with the firm predicting that netbooks would grow from 10 percent of all PCs sold to 12 percent in 2010.



Instead, growth of netbooks crashed last year as the iPad was introduced. That reversal in the PC market, usually attributed to iPad sales, was explained away in Gartner's most recent report as a shift toward replacement purchases in the "professional market."



This phrasing enabled Gartner to explain why netbook makers were "facing challenges" while premium priced vendors were growing rapidly, even while ignoring iPad sales and excluding them entirely from its PC sales figures.



iPad: the elephant in the corner



Under its published charts, Gartner notes that its "data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablet such as the iPad." Apple sells more iPads than all of its Macintosh computers combined, so including iPad tablets within PC sales would dramatically boost the company's market share at the expense of generic PC makers, much like the balloon of netbook sales from Acer and Asus skewed the PC market in 2008 and 2009.



Neither Gartner nor IDC have explained why they gerrymander their PC sales data to exclude the iPad, even as they count limited functionality netbooks, scramble to invent non-iPad explanations for contracting growth in the PC market outside of Apple's own sales, and describe Apple's tablet as part of a distinct "media tablet" market that simply does not exist.



Gartner previously invented arbitrary definitions of "smartphone" that excluded devices from some makers (notably Palm) in order to flatter sales of Windows Mobile, formerly included PC servers (but not competing servers using non-Intel chips) in its PC sales reports to flatter Microsoft, and more recently has invented tens of millions of devices it says are probably using Android in order to dramatically skew its modern reports on the smartphone industry and fulfill its own predictions on mobile platforms.



Being in the consumer market is either good or bad



Acer, Gartner's report said, "faced challenges in the fourth quarter of 2010 due to a slowdown in the overall consumer mobile PC market. The company was impacted by a weakening mini-notebook segment. Due to a lower presence in the professional PC market, Acer could not benefit from the professional PC refresh demand."



Dell, which Gartner ranked in third place worldwide behind Acer (in contrast to IDC), was the only PC maker in the top three to grow its global PC sales in the fourth quarter, albeit by just 3.9 percent. The firm attributed this growth to Dell benefiting "from professional PC refreshes across key regions," and noted that "Dell?s weaker presence in the consumer segment meant the company was not affected as much as some other vendors due to disappointing holiday sales."



Gartner said Lenovo "marked the strongest year-on-year growth among the top 5 vendors [globally]. Lenovo?s strength was derived from the replacement purchases in the professional PC market, as well as its on-going efforts of getting into the consumer market."









Gartner's US PC sales worse than IDC reported, better than Gartner expected



In the US, Gartner reported a 6.6 percent decline in PC sales in Q4, worst than IDC's report of a 4.8 percent contraction but better than the 10 percent decline Gartner had predicted.



"US holiday sales were not fantastic for most PC vendors," wrote Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa, "but the professional market did show healthy growth during the quarter. Media tablets undoubtedly intensified the competition in the consumer market.



"These devices do not replace primary PCs, but they are viewed as good enough devices for these who want to have a second and third connected device for content consumption usage. Mini-notebook shipments were hit the most by the success of media tablets."



The report noted that "Gartner?s preliminary study shows that Toshiba and Apple were the only vendors in the top 5 to increase shipments [in the US market], as Toshiba?s shipments grew 14.4 percent, while Apple?s shipments increased 23.7 percent."



Like IDC, Gartner seemed to carefully avoid making any pointed observation of how Apple's iPad has shifted PC sales dramatically while doing nothing to slow Apple's own PC growth.



Ixnay on the padisay



Gartner's Kitagawa seemed careful not to use the word "iPad" within any direct quote in the report, using it only twice (apart from notes explaining that its PC sales numbers excluded the iPad), each time in the context of "media tablets, such as the iPad."



IDC's entire report only used the word "iPad" once, preferring instead to similarly use the phrase "media tablet" as a euphemism for iPad sales.



Gartner estimated that Apple sold 1.86 million Macs in the fourth quarter, assigning it 9.7 percent market share in the US. IDC's report gave Apple 8.7 percent of the US market in Q4, and described its Mac growth as being just 15.2 percent year over year.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 68
    Gartner vs. IDC has a vertical height issue rendering, but fine when you open the image in a separate tab.
  • Reply 2 of 68
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,505member
    So what did Toshiba do differently?
  • Reply 3 of 68
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,161member
    Slow the good news down a bit Dan. The trolls can't catch their breath at this pace. They're turning blue in the face.
  • Reply 4 of 68
    Appleinsider, iPads are not PCs so quit bitching about it. I'm sure it would improve the value of your Apple stock if the numbers were reported differently, but you're doing fine as it is.
  • Reply 5 of 68
    2011 will be another good year for Apple.
  • Reply 6 of 68
    winstwinst Posts: 26member
    Their sales reps claimed to "customize" data to help customers' marketing goals.
  • Reply 7 of 68
    pokepoke Posts: 506member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Daniel001 View Post


    Appleinsider, iPads are not PCs so quit bitching about it. I'm sure it would improve the value of your Apple stock if the numbers were reported differently, but you're doing fine as it is.



    You could have said the same thing about laptops when they were introduced. The only real factors I can think of that distinguish iPads from PCs are that file management is inconvenient on the iPad and you still need to connect it to a PC for updates. Otherwise it's just an arbitrary distinction. If iPad sales are impacting PC sales then they're probably fulfilling the same role.
  • Reply 8 of 68
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    2011 will be an interesting year for analysts. With so many tablets coming out of CES that are capable of replacing the traditional ?PC? they will either have to include a media tablet report that is independent of the ?PC? and smartphone stats, or they will have include them in the ?PC? stats. Either way, it?ll be a change over the previous designation to include tablets that were running Windows desktop as ?PCs?.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    Slow the good news down a bit Dan. The trolls can't catch their breath at this pace. They're turning blue in the face.



  • Reply 9 of 68
    My guess is that analysts will soon create a separate category for media tablets, just like smartphone market analysis is now separated from analyses on the entire mobile telephone market. Once there is a significant growing worldwide market for a product category, it'll be tracked separately, but it can't be a one-pony show. Someone other than Apple needs to ship product in quantity to make the analysis meaningful.



    At some point, they may fold media tablets back into the PC category, especially if the manufacturers stop separating sales figures. But for the next several years, I think we will see media tablets as a separate product category, mostly because the growth will be exponential and the analysts need to have separate visibility on something that is rapidly changing.
  • Reply 10 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by apple_headlines View Post


    2011 will be another good year for Apple.



    That, I agree with.
  • Reply 11 of 68
    recrec Posts: 217member
    I'm interested in hearing from people who would claim that the iPad is not a PC. I'd like to know how exactly you can say it isn't.



    PC stands for Personal Computer. How is the iPad not a Personal Computer? It is perhaps one of the most personal computers ever made!
  • Reply 12 of 68
    The technical definition and market definition are two separate beasts. Who picks the market definition? Consumers really.



    The analysts will probably use the market definition.



    It's the same with fruits and vegetables. What's a tomato? It's a fruit if you use the botanical definition. It's a vegetable if you use the common household/culinary definition. If you go to a grocery store, where do you expect to find tomatoes? With the oranges or with the carrots?
  • Reply 13 of 68
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


    My guess is that analysts will soon create a separate category for media tablets, just like smartphone market analysis is now separated from analyses on the entire mobile telephone market. Once there is a significant growing worldwide market for a product category, it'll be tracked separately, but it can't be a one-pony show. Someone other than Apple needs to ship product in quantity to make the analysis meaningful.



    At some point, they may fold media tablets back into the PC category, especially if the manufacturers stop separating sales figures. But for the next several years, I think we will see media tablets as a separate product category, mostly because the growth will be exponential and the analysts need to have separate visibility on something that is rapidly changing.



    That sounds reasonable and follows what I think will happen.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by REC View Post


    I'm interested in hearing from people who would claim that the iPad is not a PC. I'd like to know how exactly you can say it isn't.



    PC stands for Personal Computer. How is the iPad not a Personal Computer? It is perhaps one of the most personal computers ever made!



    It?s not a PC to Gartner and IDC because they don?t define it as such. It? that simple It doesn?t mean that it?s not a ?PC? by other criteria, it simply means that how the qualify it. Did we ever categorize PDAs as ?PCs? even though they could do a lot more than the first ?PCs?? I don?t think so. The iPhone and iPod Touch would probably pass all the same criteria most here would have for the iPad, but I think most here would be less inclined to say that the iPhone or Touch is an ?PC?.



    Let?s use LTE, Verizon and the ITU as an example. Verizon?s 2nd generation network is CDMA and their 3rd generation network is CDMA2000/EV-DO, but I hear all the time that Verizon shouldn?t allowed to refer to their 4th generation network overhaul as ?4G' even though they don?t say it?s 4G as defined by the ITU. Note that ITU just last month relaxed some of their requirement as to what ?4G? so these delimiters can move.



    I see your point and I agree with it, I just don?t agree with a single stringent definition that all must abide by.
  • Reply 14 of 68
    gary54gary54 Posts: 169member
    a person wonder what would happen to market share if they decided to tackle the low price range segment. Is it possible to have both the cake and eat it too?
  • Reply 15 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by poke View Post


    The only real factors I can think of that distinguish iPads from PCs are that file management is inconvenient on the iPad and you still need to connect it to a PC for updates. Otherwise it's just an arbitrary distinction.



    It is arbitrary, but it's still worth making the distinction. Functionally, the iPad has more in common with an iPod touch than with a desktop PC or a laptop. Lumping them together doesn't achieve anything other than making Apple fans feel pleased about their burgeoning market share.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by REC View Post


    PC stands for Personal Computer. How is the iPad not a Personal Computer? It is perhaps one of the most personal computers ever made!



    On that basis a digital watch is also a PC.
  • Reply 16 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gary54 View Post


    a person wonder what would happen to market share if they decided to tackle the low price range segment. Is it possible to have both the cake and eat it too?



    The margins would plummet and shareholders would not be pleased. Apple is very profitable because they choose not to compete in the low-margin markets.
  • Reply 17 of 68
    recrec Posts: 217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Daniel001 View Post


    It is arbitrary, but it's still worth making the distinction. Functionally, the iPad has more in common with an iPod touch than with a desktop PC or a laptop. Lumping them together doesn't achieve anything other than making Apple fans feel pleased about their burgeoning market share.



    On that basis a digital watch is also a PC.



    Wikipedia defines the iPad as a PC.



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer



    "A personal computer (PC) is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator. PCs include any type of computer that is used in a "personal" manner."



    and



    "A personal computer may be a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet PC, or a handheld PC"



    Good enough for me.
  • Reply 18 of 68
    Again, you people are ignoring the fact that there is a difference between a technical definition and a market definition.



    Market analysts don't use the computer science definition of PCs. They use the market definition of PCs, what ordinary people think.



    Same thing with people who analyze grocery store sales. They don't classify tomatoes as fruits because that's the botanical definition. They use the consumer definition of vegetable. How a botanist classifies a tomato is irrelevant to market analysts. Hell, if you go to a place like a nursery, you will find tomato seedlings with the other vegetables.



    Talk about the technical definition until you are blue in the face; the market will have its own ideas.



    (I will also take the opportunity to point out that Apple itself does not refer to the iPad as a computer. They refer to it as a device.)
  • Reply 19 of 68
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


    Again, you people are ignoring the fact that there is a difference between a technical definition and a market definition.



    Market analysts don't use the computer science definition of PCs. They use the market definition of PCs, what ordinary people think.



    Same thing with people who analyze grocery store sales. They don't classify tomatoes as fruits because that's the botanical definition. They use the consumer definition of vegetable. How a botanist classifies a tomato is irrelevant to market analysts. Hell, if you go to a place like a nursery, you will find tomato seedlings with the other vegetables.



    Talk about the technical definition until you are blue in the face; the market will have its own ideas.



    (I will also take the opportunity to point out that Apple itself does not refer to the iPad as a computer. They refer to it as a device.)



    Well said.





    PS: Are Macs PCs?
  • Reply 20 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    PS: Are Macs PCs?



    Uh, sure, when you boot Windows in Parallels, etc.



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