PC Market Shipments Slip Again, Macs Mostly Flat

A few weeks ago, we covered a report that suggested up to 25 percent of PC users could be preparing to switch to a Mac in the next 24 months. The story was faintly ludicrous as written, and a new set of reports from IDC and Gartner point to this: While the two companies report different figures, their conclusions are similar.

Gartner estimates the Mac’s absolute market shrank from 4.26 million Macs in 2016 to 4.24 in 2017, a decline of 0.4 percent. On the other hand, Gartner found Apple increased its market share (from 6.7 percent to 6.9 percent) thanks to sharply reduced demand for machines from other PC OEMs.

Gartner Principal Analyst Mikako Kitagawa, told ValueWalk, “Higher PC prices due to the impact of component shortages for DRAM, solid state drives (SSDs) and LCD panels had a pronounced negative impact on PC demand in the second quarter of 2017. The approach to higher component costs varied by vendor.”

Gartner

Data by Gartner

Gartner’s data on PC sales for Q2 2017 is shown above. HP and Dell gained market share, Lenovo and Asus got the snot pounded out of them.

IDC, on the other hand, shows something different. According to their figures, Apple actually lost market share (11.8 percent now, 12.3 percent a year ago), but sold more units — 1.7 percent higher Y-on-Y. It might seem impossible to square the circle on that one, but I think there’s a way. Gartner’s argument is Mac sales dropped slightly, but less than the rest of the PC market, which gave the Cupertino company a small market share increase and a small shipment drop. Gartner also thinks the PC market shrank 4.3 percent on the whole. IDC thinks that Apple sold 1.7 percent more PCs this quarter, but that the PC market shrank less than Gartner did (3.3 percent).

So. In one scenario, Apple’s sales fall by a much smaller amount than other PC OEMs, and it therefore gains market share even as it sells fewer systems. On the other, there’s a prediction that Apple’s sales actually grew by a higher amount, but that its market share shrank, as the PC market didn’t decline as much in their model as in Gartner’s.

This is all speculation for a moment, but it sure shows where phrases like “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” come from. Did Apple gain or reduce its Mac sales? How did that impact his market share? Will Tim Cook have to wait an extra month to buy a blanket made with spider silk and solid gold?

We don’t know yet. But we’ll keep digging.

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