Exposing IDC’s, Gartner’s, and Strategy Analytics’ PC, phone and tablet data on Apple

“Every quarter, the tech world’s market research firms release metrics on how many PCs, phones and tablets Apple reported selling and compare these to estimates of what the rest of the world produced, resulting in headlines that minimize the importance of the world’s largest and most profitable company,” Daniel Eran Dilger writes for AppleInsider. “You might wonder why.”

“Strategy Analytics has offered some unusual transparency regarding its motive for carving out a very specific market and then stuffing the pie chart with ‘tier two’ volume to the point where the world’s best selling tablet is crushed down into an embarrassing statistical sliver of shrinking ‘share,'” Dilger writes. “As Strategy Analytics notes, “we support our clients with a variety of high-stakes projects, including: new product development and product roadmaps; driving existing products down the cost curve; bundled pricing strategies; infrastructure investment and optimization; new market penetration and market expansion; influencing consumer behavior and buying preferences, and many more short- and long-term initiatives.””

“How exactly does reporting facts on sales result in ‘influencing consumer behavior and buying preferences”? Hypothetically, if one could fool the world’s journalists into parroting off statistics that portrayed the most successful vendor of tablets as being in desperate straits and ‘failing’ in a matter of speaking, it would sure take the pressure off of those who are failing to actually sell tablets, wouldn’t it?” Dilger writes. “‘Influencing consumer behavior and buying preferences’ would require creating a composite of competing companies, pooling their sales together under the communal identifying ingredient of ‘Android,’ and possibly erasing the boundary between premium phones and stuff that can barely function beyond making a basic phone call.”

“Add up all this stuff and you could create the impression that the rest of the world is winning with 81 percent of somethingorother, distracting away from the fact that Apple is destroying its competition in both phones and tablets in the only market segments that a vendor with the luxury of being choosy would choose to do business in,” Dilger writes. “I’m sure nobody will catch on.”

Tons more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: This isn’t the first time someone’e questioned these unit share reports, but it’s one of the best.

Bravo to Canalys for having the balls to tell it like it is. Here’s to IDC, Gartner and the rest each growing a pair sooner than later, too.MacDailyNews Take, “Canalys unafraid to count iPad, puts Apple third in worldwide PC market share” – January 26, 2011

The bottom line goal of unit share manipulators: Make the average Joe think he’s buying a “winning” product by making Apple products look like they’re “losing.” If the unit share numbers don’t look good for their clients and/or bad for Apple, they’ll concoct other ways to count them until they do.

One thing these shady data massagers can’t hide under tons of questionable data: Apple’s immense profits. That’s why they don’t release monthly press releases on profit share. If they did, they’d be out of business. Profit share, the actual measure of success in a market, is to be ignored at all costs by those in the business of “influencing consumer behavior and buying preferences.”

As we explained back on October 23rd:

The well-heeled customer chooses Apple… These are the desirable customers. These are the customers that pay for substantive R&D. These are the customers that matter. This is why they get the world’s first and only 64-bit smartphone. This is, in fact, why they get the world’s modern smartphone in 2007, years before anyone else gets a serviceable knockoff.

These are the customers that pay for not only the best devices, but also for the best apps and services. This is why market share doesn’t matter for Apple and why Apple doesn’t really care about general market (unit) share. This is why the Mac lived while all the others’ PC businesses slowly died during Microsoft’s dreadful Dark Age of Personal Computing. This is why the Mac continues to thrive today. All of the smart and rich people have Macs. Intelligent developers understand this.

In each market in which it competes, Apple owns the only part of market that matters: Consumers with taste, the ability to discern value, and who possess disposable income and the will to spend it. Google, Samsung et al. can have all of the leftovers. They’re more trouble than they’re worth, which isn’t much, not even en masse.

If you have a billion users who settled for your product because it was part of a Buy One Get One freebie, how much content (music, movies, apps, books, etc.) are they going to buy and to how many paid services are they going to subscribe and how much are they worth to advertisers? Pretty much bupkis on all three counts.

We’d rather have the 400+ million (and rapidly growing) customers with the taste, the intelligence to recognize incredible value, and the money and the will to spend it. Wouldn’t you?

As long as you corner the market on the best customers, and there are enough of them to support a healthy business (very healthy in Apple’s case), market share doesn’t matter.

Related articles:
Smashing Apple: Is Strategy Analytics in Samsung’s pocket? – August 3, 2013
Strategy Analytics claims Android now dominates tablet market – July 31, 2013
Gartner and IDC trumpet wildly incongruous Mac unit sales estimates – April 11, 2013
Canalys unafraid to count iPad, puts Apple third in worldwide PC market share – January 26, 2011


  1. When you buy a luxury product you know that you are paying over the odds, you know that the profit a company makes on you has to be the equivalent of any number of customers of a more basic product because the market is much smaller, and at a minimum the company has to make enough to stay in business.

    With Apple you are getting a luxury product, but you’re not really paying luxury product prices. Yes there are companies who charge fortunes to attach a loaf of gaudy crap to your phone, but they’re selling to idiots, not people with money to spend wisely.
    Saving money is one thing, I’ll gladly spend less on something if I consider the trade off to be worth it, with non-Apple products IF they are cheaper (big IF) I don’t remotely consider them to be worth the saving.

  2. Nicely done guys …..

    Wow, I have a hard time understanding their “crooked business model” …..

    As a business owner for the last 33 years, working on 34, starting with nothing, we always had the following rule ….. Be honest …..

    In my business, roofing, that goes a long way and it has shown as we grew from a two man shop to over 25 man and we could of expanded further, if desired but our size operation fits well with our management style …..

      1. Bo’s Consumer Survey: Gullible users falling for Samsung’s Phablet Phones because they are ‘bigger’ are suddenly finding out they are more difficult to handle and store in a pocket or on a belt case.

        100% of the Samsung user’s surveyed yesterday are going to the Apple Store today. OK, I’ll admit it, I only talked to one Samsung user yesterday.

        1. Make that two …. Secretary,s hubby getting iPhone today after she purchased an iPhone 5 with our BYOD to work plan …..

          So that is at least two …. Or count three if secretary is included but that happened about a month ago!

    1. IDC et al are being honest, with their customer, the manufacturers of second-rate devices. The people who are being dishonest are manufacturers of second-rate devices, with their customers, because they know they are making crap that people have to be tricked into buying. The other dishonest party here is the press who pass on these “statistics” without examination or explanation for their customers, although they may just be lazy. Journalism isn’t what it used to be as a profession. They need to take a lesson from the oldest profession. At least with them everybody knows who is getting screwed.

  3. IDC and their ilk can start off by reporting delivered sales for the other companies like Apple does. Oh wait, no one else reports delivered sales (item not only purchased but in the hands of the purchaser). Everyone else reports either produced items or nothing at all making a true comparison almost impossible.

  4. … here is the COST of building, and shipping, a boat-load of crap that isn’t going to sell. That costs SOMEONE a boat-load of MONEY! And then there’s the cost of paying for the things the analysts expect to see – Up Front – before they will fuzz the lines. Not a great business model!

  5. Strategy analytics was exposed by rush Limbaugh, to be scamscums advertising agency, obviously their agenda is to slam apple. business insiders largest investor is amazon, apparently amazon carries the same lack of ethics as strategy Analytics and Scamsunm, as well as Amazons fully protected monopoly is the books arena, where Apple WAS a major threat in that business. With the placement of corrupt, bought judges as the big “C”, Koh, tying the hands of Apple attorneys in a fair battle to retrieve justly compensation.

    1. To Hmmmm:

      As with mainstream journalism (whatever that is), some bloggers are industrious journalists who hold themselves to a high standard, and some (many?) are just guys with opinions and web code.

      But in a world where Faux Noise is the #1 network for propaganda, I wouldn’t come down too hard on most bloggers — they tend to be more ethical than some professional “journalists.”

      1. Thanks for the explanation Chas, it’s a shame that the ones lacking ethics are the loudest ones. In the history of Samsung, it’s a shame they prevail in their scum ways. At least I hope Dyson has the capability to prevail in his case against Scamscum.

  6. I posted this about counting whitebox retailers several days ago:

    ” …reminds me of NPD which proudly counted Windows tablets as ‘PCs’ but refused to count iPads (“Windows tablets are PCs, iPads are not” ) . In an interview when NPD rep was asked whether the then upcoming new HP Slate which was going to run WebOS replacing Windows, whether they would count them as PCs or not, the NPD guy stammered unable to answer….

    Analysts count numbers to suit their own needs. They sell their data to PC, phone OEMS, carriers, support business for them to promote their stock, get loans etc. Numbers are ‘massaged’ to fit their clients needs.”

    imagine if they counted iPads as PCs like Windows tablets, the stock of PC companies would tank worse then dells, instead of their sales dropping slightly and marketshare steady they would have to concede they have lost market share of 30-40%. The clients of Stragtegy analytics, IDC, NPD etc won’t be requiring their services anymore. You’re going to go to a bank for a loan or try to sell stock to investors armed with a S. Analystics report saying you’ve lost 40% marketshare?

    (that’s also why many articles in places like ZDnet are skewed against apple. If you read their clients lists (including advertisers) you find they are PC vendors, accessory makers etc, ZDnet wants to promote the PC eco system as thriving … )

    Read more at http://macdailynews.com/2013/11/13/idc-data-shows-two-thirds-of-androids-81-smartphone-share-are-cheap-junk-phones/#ImIQjPzdW0xzJpVK.99

  7. Imagine evaluating Tesla’s share. Instead of comparing them to other high end autos what if they were compared to every internal combustion driven device including bass boats, Vespas and lawn mowers. That is the sort if thing these guys are doing.

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