Why have Apple’s Mac sales outgrown Windows PC sales for the past five years?

“Charles Wolf, an analyst at Needham [has] posted an investment note on Apple which points out that Apple’s Mac shipments have grown faster than the PC market for the past 20 quarters (that’s five years in normal money),” Charles Arthur reports for The Guardian.

Apple’s Mac “shipments to business were up by 66% (while the overall market grew 4.5%); to government by 155.6% (v 2.3%); to the home market by 21.6% (v a 6.5% shrinkage),” Arthur reports. “Why are all these home users, business users, government users getting Macs? One argument is that with Apple, you’re starting from a small base, so any increase is going to look dramatic. And yet something is going on. My analysis of Apple’s sales figures and the numbers from Gartner and IDC shows that in the second quarter of 2010, Apple hit 4% of the whole PC market for the first time in more than ten years; it hasn’t happened since 1998, and I can’t find the time before that when it was true.”

“[Beyond the iPod, iPhone and, now, iPad “halo effect” on Macs, “one argument is that the increase in Mac sales (in the last quarter, at just under 5m, a level it has been nudging for the past three quarters) is due to governments and businesses getting interested in developing apps for those iPhones, so they’re buying one to be able to run the iPhone Software Development Kit,” Arthur reports. “And home users? Quite probably they are the ones who are trading up (or as Wolf puts it, exerting an outward shift in the demand curve).”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

17 Comments

    1. Same reporting, and what I really want to know is:

      1) Given Apple now has 4% worldwide market share …

      2) What is their revenue share, given their averages prices are higher than average Windows PC prices, and …

      3) What is their profit share, given their margins are also typically higher than PC box/laptop prices.

      It is strange that virtually all “share” articles about Apple focus on one of these numbers without discussing the other two, when it is the combination of all three numbers that really give the picture.

      For instance, Apple has 5% of the mobile phone market but takes in 55% of the profit (after excluding companies that are actually losing money). Knowing both of those numbers indicates that Apple has a long way to grow and is likely to take in multiple times the profit of the rest of the industry in the near future. Either number by itself would not show the full picture.

      1. One stat I know is in 2010 that 90% of PCs sold over $1000 are Macs. it’s been around that level for the past 3-4 years, Microjunk have always judged success on units sold, whereas Apple tries to produce the best possible user experience for it’s customers, this strategy means the $’s look after themselves.

  1. Here is what I see at work. Mostly PCs to begin with. And mostly PCs at home. Then when many need a new home computer, they get an iMac because of how often the PCs crash and they have heard good things about Apple. A few days later, they are waxing ecstatic at work about their new Mac. Then they start lobbying IT for Macs.

  2. No, it’s called better products than PCs. Better hardware, better software. With PC’s you get no software. With every Mac purchase you get a full working suite of software for just about everything to start with.

  3. Oh come on. Business and govt getting them to run SDKs amounts to not that many. And the halo effect only helps feed the for-really, actual, basic reason Mac sales are growing: consumers, businesses, and government are discovering them to be superior computers.

  4. “…And yet something is going on. My analysis of Apple’s sales figures and the numbers from Gartner and IDC shows that in the second quarter of 2010, Apple hit 4% of the whole PC market for the first time in more than ten years; it hasn’t happened since 1998, and I can’t find the time before that when it was true.”

    Welcome to the 21st century. Too bad you’ve already missed the gravy train.

  5. Many years ago when I asked my boss why he has a PC and a Mac on his desk he responded that the PC was so he could be compatible with the customers, and the Mac so he could get work done.

    During a strategic planning meeting, the kind of meeting where you discuss how to differentiate yourself from your competitors, someone suggested that we start using Macs and then start a virus to infect the competition.

    I think we would have made headway against our competition even without the second step but no one else took him seriously.

  6. I think there is something else going on that Microsoft may not be ready for. There is a younger generation of IT talent starting to assume leadership roles. I am 35 and managing part of a large IT division. Day 1 I started talking about the iPhone and now 4 of us carry them. I am using a Mac and people are taking note. As we look at new options I am always brining up Apple. More and more us are going to start to do that replacing the generation that only new Microsoft. Once that really happens, game over for Redmond.

    1. Not only the young in age using Macs now, but almost any startup business will be setting up Macs in their offices. Why? As you say, that’s what is in the homes of their employees. Plus, bottom line, overall cost of ownership is less with Apple product, due to relaxed anti-malware needs and overarching ease of setup and administration. It all leads to very few new SMBs installing windoze equipment.

  7. “Apple’s Mac shipments have grown faster than the PC market for the past 20 quarters ”

    Which doesn’t mean that the PC market hasn’t grown. It’s all relative though.

  8. I appreciate this is a Mac site, and as such, is mainly commented on by Mac fans.
    I think some context needs to enter the equation. Apple’s growth is very impressive, but reading some comments you would think Apple were outselling Windows at home, and business was following suit.
    If Mac has hit 4% of home sales, and taking into account the maybe 1% who exclusively use Linux or other OSs, Windows still has about 94-95% of the home market.
    If this is reflected across the spectrum, Windows would have to increase sales by 23 times the actual sales units to count as the same percentage. If I sell 10 products one year, I could sell 40 the next year and quadruple my sales.
    Of course a part of this is that even if some more Windows users wish to switch, they simply can’t afford to. Even if Macs are everything their supporters claim, someone who can’t afford to switch now probably can’t afford it next year, short of a promotion. On top of that though, the fact that you can’t swap the same amount of components may not be an issue to most users, but it always will be to some.

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