Apple figures suggest that 2006 may be very big year, thanks to Windows users switching to Mac

“A very interesting statistic came out of Apple Computer’s earnings call on Apr. 19. And it wasn’t just that sales were up by more than $1 billion, that profit rose 41%, or that in the first half of fiscal 2006, Apple generated more than $10 billion in revenue,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek. “No. To me, the most compelling figure nestled among comments by CFO Peter Oppenheimer was that 50% of people buying Macs in Apple retail stores are classified as ‘new to Mac,’ meaning they have not owned a Mac before, and to at least some sizable extent may be switching over from Windows. This is going to become increasingly important for Apple in the next few quarters, particularly in the latter half of this year and into 2007.”

“The retail division was responsible for 154,000 Mac sales in the quarter, which means that if the ‘new to Mac’ stat is accurate (and for the sake of healthy skepticism, I would really like to know how Apple counts these people), some 77,000 people bought their first Macs in the most recent quarter. Allow me to extrapolate a little further, based on the retail results of other recent quarters. Let’s say Mac retail sales are flat to slightly higher each quarter this year from last year. And if the 50% “new-to-Mac” statistic holds steady, then we could see somewhere in the ballpark of 400,000 to a half-million new Mac owners this year in the Apple retail segment alone,” Hesseldahl writes. “And surely that can’t account for all of the consumers who count as ‘new to the Mac.’ Analyst Charles Wolf of Needham and Co. in New York late last year forecasted that there could be something on the order of 1.3 million people ‘switching’ from Windows to Mac this year. That number may be a little low.”

“Apple’s recent addition of Boot Camp — provided its Beta-testing period is successful and there are no significant problems — will only help close the deal with other potential switchers,” Hesseldahl writes. “If there are any lingering doubts in the minds of many using Windows now who are intrigued by the Mac, Boot Camp will go a long way toward erasing them. This could cause an interesting groundswell of new Mac buyers as Apple continues to fill out its Intel-based product lineup. Still in the pipeline is an Intel-based consumer-grade notebook to succeed the current iBook model, and an Intel-based successor to the professional-grade PowerMac G5… This all adds up to the potential for a pretty healthy year in Mac sales — to switchers and Mac devotees alike.”

More in the full article here.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple Q2 2006 Conference Call notes – April 19, 2006
Apple reports Q2 2006 earnings: $4.36 billion revenue, $0.47 earnings per share – April 19, 2006
Cowen & Co survey shows strong Apple Mac sales prospects, Boot Camp impact ‘broadly positive’ – April 18, 2006


  1. I would really like to know how Apple counts these people

    Duh, they compile your personal data when you buy and when you first start a new machine.

    Since every machine is numbered that is cross referenced with the numbers of the machines sold at local Apple Stores.

    Oh Apple knows quite a bit about us, in fact the Dock and the AddressBook both contact Apple quite regularly. As well as Mac OS X does when you first boot up.

    When you buy a new Mac, they have a list of all the other Mac’s and Apple gear you have bought from them previously. They also have it marked if you bring in your Apple gear for too many problems or returns.

    When Steve Jobs said “We have over 25 million Mac users” He knows for sure, trust me.

  2. Andrew,

    Wouldn’t it be easier if when you buy a Mac at an Apple store, they ask you, “Is this the first Macintosh computer you’ve ever owned?”.

    Then they compile all the results from all their stores and arrive at a percentage.

    But your theory is good too. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Hmmmmm, Andrew – or should I say MacDude – stop with this PARANOIA.

    We all know it’s you, in order to hide your appearance you need to change your writing syle. Which for you, is impossible.

    So you got sacked by Apple – big deal, grow up and move on. Ranting that Apple are spying on us is simply not true and makes you look like a bad loser.

    FYI, Address Book has NEVER contacted the internet on my PowerBook, and I have had Little Snitch installed since it first came out. Dock once tried, but I denied it a connection.

  4. Welcome, new Mac users…

    MDN Magic Word: ssshhh, “Wife”, as in, when I mentioned to my wife that Apple came out with Boot Camp and now Mac users can run Winders, my “Wife’s” innocent response was, “Why would anyone want to do that!?” Right…

  5. In statistical analysis, you don’t need to survey 100% of the sample to get an accurate picture. A truly random sampling of less than 1% of a large number of items, such as population opinions or manufacturing potato chips will result in very low margins of error.

    Adding to this, Apple’s various independent sources of samples such as “Did the user run Migration Assistant?”, “Have they registered a computer previously?” or simply matching credit card numbers with computer purchases, and by comparing these independent statistics, they can get an extremely accurate conclusion.

    I am very sure that Apple has amazingly accurate numbers for just about everything.

  6. Alas Apple has been quoting similar figures since the first Apple stores opened years ago. The fact market share hasn’t increased dramatically since then leads me to suspect that the numbers have been offset by existing Mac users defecting to Windoze – or a comparable number of first-time computer buyers getting PCs.

    Or maybe Mac virgins have been getting one of each – which they no longer need to do, with Boot Camp and Parallels.

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