As much as Apple fans would hate to admit it, sales figures for their pet brand haven’t been exactly stellar of late. And the latest Gartner report released on April 9, 2014, confirmed a largely anticipated US Mac sales decrease. The backdrop for this contraction in sales figure that Apple’s flagship computer posted is rather contradictory, as well as dynamic. By and large, two PC producers, Dell and Lenovo, have amassed the largest growth rates on the market, thereby polarizing it, while the rest of the actors on the scene suffered losses. The PC market in the United States saw a slight increase, in terms of the number of units shipped out, but, on a global level, the number of PC sold fell by a rather notable 1.7 per cent. In the following, we take a cursory look at overall market conditions for the winter quarter of the past financial year, and also try to untangle some of the reasons behind the US Mac sales decrease posted during that same quarter.
Who’s who in PC sales for winter ’14?
There were 14.1 million units of PCs sold in the United States during the first quarter of this year. By and large, the market remained somewhat stagnant, compared to the same span of time last year. There was, indeed, a small increase of units sold this year, while the global market saw a slight contraction, yet, in terms of producers, the rankings on the U.S. market shifted significantly. Indeed, HP still leads the charts, with 25 per cent of all PCs shipped in the United States produced by it. However, Dell and Lenovo came up strongly from behind and posted the most important increases of all the top five brands listed in the chart. Their respective growth rates for the year’s first three months were of 13.2 and 16.8 per cent.
According to Mikako Kitagawa from Gartner, the U.S. market still managed to fare better than most other regions around the world. The same expert brought into focus the structural change of the worldwide PC market, whose installed base of PCs was still growing last year, as opposed to the one in the U.S. which first started its decline there. There’s a massive saturation of PCs in the U.S., with 99 per cent of all households owning at least one desktop or laptop computer and over 50 per cent owning two such devices. Gartner estimates that tablets will penetrate the market by up to 50 per cent this year, but, at the same time, it’s allowing for a return to PCs in consumer spending.
What’s up with the US Mac Sales Decrease: Facts and Figures
Apple shipped 1.5 million units during the first quarter of 2014, which brought its market share to 10.8 per cent – a comparable number to Lenovo’s 10.4 per cent and Toshiba’s 8.4, but one that’s significantly behind Dell’s 23.8 per cent and HP’s neat quarter of the market. The company also saw a decrease in terms of market share, from the 11.5 per cent it boasted during last year’s first quarter, as well as posting a negative growth of 3.8 per cent on the year.
Though the situation looks largely negative, it’s worth bearing in mind that these figures are preliminary. Indeed, the US Mac sales decrease has also been reported by IDC, with a market share drop of 10.3 per cent chalked up to Apple, down from the 11 per cent reported last year. IDC data says the global PC market shrunk by a heftier 4.4 per cent. However, last year Gartner revised its Apple numbers by not one, but two share points, as the then recently launched iMac had been in very short supply. There have been no updates in Apple’s line up of Mac products since the beginning of fall 2013.