IDC again undercounts Mac unit sales

“IDC doesn’t like counting iPads among its global PC figures, but it doesn’t seem to like counting Macs either, given its back-to-back quarterly undercounting of Apple’s computer sales,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider.

“Yesterday, IDC released numbers indicating that Apple had finally made it into the top five PC makers globally on sales of Macs (not including any iPad sales). According to the firm’s latest numbers, Apple’s Mac sales grew by 8.9 percent in a globally market that overall retracted by 1.7 percent, as long as you compare IDC’s current numbers from the year ago quarter with its latest estimate of Mac sales for calendar Q3,” Dilger reports. “However, if you compare IDC’s current shipping estimates of the PC market against what [IDC] ‘preliminarily’ reported a year ago, global PC shipments are actually down by 3.8 percent, because last year IDC said that Q3 shipments reached 81.6 million. Today it reports that only 79.9 million PCs shipped in the year ago quarter.”

“Additionally, last year IDC ranked Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer and Asus as the top five PC vendors, with fifth place Asus reportedly having shipped 4.2 million PCs. However, Apple itself reported selling 4.6 million Macs that quarter (the company’s fiscal Q4),” Dilger reports. “That means Apple should have edged out Asus a year ago to take the fifth place among PC makers. IDC retroactively adjusted its numbers to report that Apple sold 4.577 million Macs in the year ago quarter, which also would have edged out the estimate it published for Asus last year, when it implied Apple wasn’t even in the top five.

Dilger reports, “Three months ago, IDC similarly lowballed its estimates for Mac shipments.”

Much more in the full article here.


  1. IDC (and in fact, almost every major, similar group) has been doing this since the early 90s. It truly was worse in the 90s.

    Step one. Estimate the most recent and current quarter Apple product shipments before official numbers come out. (Make sure your estimate is “conservative”, i.e., very low.)
    Step two. Compare the most recent and current quarter estimates with the final, official numbers from the year ago equivalents.
    Step three. Publish the estimates and comparisons to the year ago real numbers (but hide the fact that the comparison is estimates to real numbers).
    Step four: Get the press to very loudly announce your estimates and the comparisons.
    Step five: Obtain the real numbers from the companies.
    Step six: NEVER, NEVER announce the real numbers & make sure the media essentially ignores them too. Make sure the media ignores any real number to real number comparisons as that will make the public aware the estimate to real comparisons are completely bogus.
    Step seven: Start back at step one.

    Because the estimates are almost always lower than the real numbers (at least for Apple’s products), the year over year percentages are always worse than reality. This was very, very pronounced back in the Dark Days.

    No one should be surprised that it is still happening.

    Is it possible to get the media to put as much emphasis on the real data as these company’s estimates? I doubt it!

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