updated 06:05 pm EDT, Wed April 9, 2014
Analysts predict 1.5 million Macs sold, Apple drops to fourth place
Compounding the usual decline in Mac and Windows PC sales following the holiday quarter, analysts IDC and Gartner say that the continuing worldwide drop in PC sales is affecting the entire industry, Apple included. While the Mac actually managed a 30 percent year-over-year increase in the last quarter of 2013, predictions for its first calendar quarter show a drop varying from 3.8 percent (Gartner) to seven percent (IDC). The overall PC market in the US is continuing to suffer from anemic or flat growth.
The two companies, which both monitor retail shipments of computers, usually disagree -- sometimes greatly -- on exact figures, but both forecast Apple as having sold about 1.5 million Macs in the March quarter, which caused the company to drop from third place in US share rankings to fourth. Lenovo, which increased shipments 21.2 percent to 1.54 million units, moved into third place. The two companies also disagree on Apple's exact US share, with IDC claiming 10.3 percent of the US market while Gartner believes it to be 10.8.
The top two PC manufacturers in US share are, as usual, HP and Dell, with Dell surging to threaten HP's perennial pole position. HP holds either 25.6 (IDC) or 25 percent (Gartner) of the market with either 3.65 million (IDC) or 3.5 million (Gartner) units shipped, up 2.3 percent from last year. Dell has 24.5 percent (IDC) or 23.8 percent share (Gartner) on 3.5 million (IDC) or 3.3 million (Gartner) units shipped. Lenovo shipped either 1.54 million units (IDC) or 1.46 million units (Gartner), showing the highest growth rate of any manufacturer. Toshiba rounded out the top five with 1.2 million units to take 8.4 percent share, down seven percent from the year-ago quarter (both companies agree on the figures for Toshiba).
Despite the differences in estimates -- which are based on shipments and retailer reports rather than company data or end-user sales -- the rankings of manufacturers was the same from both IDC and Gartner. They disagreed on how much the US PC market grew in Q1, however: IDC says the market shrank 0.6 percent, while Gartner believes it grew by 2.1 percent. The worldwide market is also shrinking, both companies agree -- IDC believes the overall drop to be 4.4 percent, while Gartner says it was 1.7 percent, both basing their findings on estimated PC shipments between 73.4 and 76.6 million units.
"The US PC market has been highly saturated with devices: 99 percent of households own at least one or more desktops or laptops, and more than half of them own both," said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa. "While tablet penetration is expected to reach 50 percent in 2014, some consumer spending could return to PCs."