IDC and Gartner numbers do not jibe with Apple’s double digit U.S. Mac growth

“Apple reported ‘strong double digit growth’ in its Mac sales in the U.S., directly contradicting the earlier estimates published by IDC and Gartner that stated Apple’s U.S. Mac sales fell year-over-year in the June quarter and calling into question the legitimacy of market estimates that the tech media uncritically presents as factual,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider.

“Earlier this month, IDC reported that Apple’s U.S. Mac unit sales in Q2 (Apple’s fiscal Q3, the quarter ending in June) fell by 1.7 percent, while Gartner reported a drop in Mac unit sales of 1.3 percent,” Dilger reports. “In Apple’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, however, the company reported a major global surge in Mac sales. “Net sales and unit sales increased for Mac due to strong demand for MacBook Air which was updated with faster processors and lower prices in April 2014 and due to sales of the new Mac Pro which became available in December 2013,” the company reported in its 10-Q.”

“Globally, Apple reported that Mac sales jumped from 3.75 million to 4.41 million year-over-year for its fiscal Q3, a unit increase of 18 percent and a new June quarter record,” Dilger reports. “Apple’s sales figures not only contradict both IDC and Gartner figures, but also both firm’s market conclusions. IDC specifically reported that Apple’s Macs ‘lost market share over the past year. In U.S. shipments, Apple slipped to become the No. 4 PC maker, dropping from the No. 3 spot to come in at 10 percent market share, a 1.7 percent decline.’ … And Gartner’s numbers portray Apple and Lenovo as being even closer than IDC’s, suggesting that there’s no way Apple could have experienced a “double digit” percentage in growth without surpassing Lenovo to become the third largest vendor of conventional PCs in the U.S., behind HP and Dell.”

Dilger writes, “If Microsoft and HP are serious about cutting expenses, a good place to start would be terminating the propaganda-flattery that has dutifully portrayed their failed strategies as “winning” market share rather than losing control of the computing landscape to Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 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 in October 2013:

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:
Exposing IDC’s, Gartner’s, and Strategy Analytics’ PC, phone and tablet data on Apple – November 16, 2013\
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

38 Comments

    1. Actually, this is truly not that shocking. Let us all not forget that those who are daily readers of Apple Centric sites like MDN and others are in the minority. The average “Joe” (who is the majority) could not give a darn nor do they no who the IDC’s of the world are. These are the individuals who are buying up Apple products based on “the real world experiences” that they have with their devices. They also buy on recommendation from friends and family. As far as they are concerned, IDC and their peers might mean “I Don’t Care!” IDC’s recommendation means nothing to them just like Consumer Reports recommendation regarding Apple means nothing to them.

      Go Apple as you conquer the world. Go Tim Cook as you rock the world.

      1. You have confused me. I sarcastically express surprise that analysts are wrong about Apple’s Mac sales and you reply “Actually, this is truly not that shocking.” Because the average Joe doesn’t know who IDC is?!? What’s the connection between what the average Joe knows and IDC’s mistaken analysts?

    2. Actually, not shocking at all, if you know the real history and how things have worked for well over two decades.

      “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.”

      And this is just a paranoid rant. MDN should know how this has worked for decades. It has nothing do do with stock manipulation.

      IDC and Gartner base their estimates before the end of each quarter on whatever information they can gather from open sources and insiders. They are purely estimates. Because Apple’s channels are more closed than most channels, IDC’s and Gartner’s pre end of quarter estimates are almost always lower than the real numbers. Then after the official numbers come out they adjust their systems to utilize the real numbers.

      Thus they
      1) Use official numbers from last quarter.
      2) Use estimated numbers from for the current quarter (which, for Apple, are almost always low.
      3) Therefore typically estimate a lower than reality sales growth or even a sales decline.
      4) Adjust their official numbers to match the officially reported numbers by Apple.
      5) Do NOT issue an updated sales growth or decline number. (The official numbers are posted by Apple so why should IDC or Gartner issue corrected numbers? IDC’s and Gartner’s numbers are 100% superfluous at that point.)

      Now just repeat this process for every quarter.
      Compare low estimated numbers against the higher, correct numbers from last quarter or last year.

      This entire process was rampant among all of the estimating houses in the early 90s and got even worse during Apple’s dark days. Estimated numbers were always lower than reality. When compared with Apple’s real numbers of the previous quarters it really looked like Apple was dying much, much faster than it was. (These houses never compared estimated numbers to the previous quarter’s estimated numbers. And they never did any correction press releases comparing real numbers to the previous quarter’s or year’s real numbers.) Then the real numbers came out and everyone ignored them because they were waiting on the next set of estimated numbers!

    1. I have one of the Lenovo laptops for work. It’s okay but the build quality is really poor. Cheap plastic body and very heavy. Battery usage is average even though it is a heavy unit.
      I’m sure they will sell a lot of units in business because they are cheap but my 2 year rMBP runs rings around this.

  1. Everyone needs to remember this, from IDC:
    “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.”

    The key words are “influencing consumer behavior and buying preferences”, which is exactly what they’re trying to do for their “clients”. Wonder who THEY are.

  2. This contradicts what I’ve seen in coffee shops; everywhere you look, on every coffee shop table is a MacBook Air.
    Also, I was in Costco yesterday when the salesman tried telling me to get a Samsung, claiming it faster than an iPhone. That is hilarious. He didn’t know who he was talking to!

  3. IDC: Perennial Apple Bear Bullshitters.

    Gartner: Perennial Apple Bear Bullshitters.

    I’m not going to accuse them of taking bribes from the PC industry. I’m only accusing them of GROSS INCOMPETENCE! (IMHO of course).

    Thrive on Apple! 😀

  4. As I said in a previous post, I don’t trust IDC or Gartners numbers and haven’t for quite some time. They are paid shills and to many of the media outlets let them get away with providing in accurate information. They should be embarrassed but they don’t care as long as they are getting paid.

  5. The Software Developers Association or (maybe another similar name) back in the late 80’s and early 90’s counted ALL CD sales that had dual MS and Apple software as MS, when in fact the early adopters to CDs were in Apples corner.

    All MS data was published immediately (monthly) and Apple’s were estimated exactly as IDC and Gartner here. Then the next month, the actual data which was better for Mac was published as a correction way back on inside pages – monthly. A mass movement of developers away from Apple came as a result.

    On this Board was MS. The SDA president eventually resigned because the truth was not allowed to be published, or changes made to reflect fact.

  6. Absolutely disgusting how they can get away with something like that. I honestly don’t understand why Apple doesn’t confront them and catch them in their lies. Maybe take them to court for deliberately publishing misinformation. Maybe I’m being too petty. I know that Apple’s quarterly earnings speak for themselves but no research agency should be able to get away with telling such lies. I’d want to precisely know why Microsoft Surface tablets are counted as computers and iPads aren’t. That sticks out like a sore thumb unless they have a solid explanation. It’s just like Wall Street’s obsession with market share. Everything seems to be based around with how many units have been shipped and they never even mention things like channel stuffing. Selectively choosing a certain metric to work against a company and show it as a failing seems rather dishonest.

    1. One possible reason for the Surface being counted as a computer could be that you can install a development environment, develop software, run and distribute that program that runs independently on a Surface from a Surface and you can’t do that on an iPad? Sure it might not be well suited but it can be done and that may make all the difference.

      1. Nope.. that doesn’t make sense at all. They omitted iPads simply because it would show Apple with the most units sold. Period. I’d stop trying to make excuses for IDC and Gartner because it makes you look like they are paying you for it.

        1. I suppose that’s true.. Otherwise Android tablets would also be considered computers and not just tablets.

          It’s not so much making excuses for IDC and Gartner as showing that the article is spinning data in a way to give the appearance of fact to something that may not be true at all and getting people excited one way or another.

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