IDC’s Mac unit sales estimates look too low

“IDC estimates that Apple sold 5.3 million Macs during the September quarter, which would be a 4% decline year over year from last year’s 5.51 million,” Chuck Jones writes for Forbes. “It would be the first quarter with a negative year over year growth rate since Apple’s September 2013 quarter. The 528,000 unit quarter to quarter increase would be the smallest since the September 2010 quarter.”

“Over the past four years the Mac unit increase from the June to September quarter has been 947,000; 903,000; 802,000 and 1.1 million,” Jones writes. “The percentage increases have been 24%, 22%, 22% and 25%. If IDC’s 5.3 million unit estimate is correct the percentage increase would only be 11%, at best half of what Apple has experienced since 2010.”

“I’m estimating that Apple sold 5.9 million units, up 23% year over year,” Jones writes. “At $1,200 per Mac Apple would generate $7 billion in revenue and about 14% of total revenue.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: IDC’s Mac unit sales estimates have been all over the map forever.

IDC and Gartner numbers do not jibe with Apple’s double digit U.S. Mac growth – July 27, 2014
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


  1. I’ve never really understood why IDC report their consistently unreliable guesses about Apple’s sales numbers when Apple’s real numbers are going to be released in just a couple of weeks.

    The difference between IDC’s guess and Gartner’s guess is that one reports falling sales, while the other reports rising sales.

    However in a market where desktop and laptop PC sales are falling fast, Apple is performing well, while the other manufacturers are experiencing rapidly declining sales. As always, if you take Apple’s sales figures out of the overall figures, the decline of the Windows PC is even more striking.

  2. IDC and Gartner reports of expected sales have always been inaccurate with regard to Macs. It is a wonder *anyone* reads them or pays for them.

    Back in the “Dark Days” it was especially bad. IDC and Gartner would report estimates of declining sales of Macs as compared to previous months, quarters and years. The problem was that each would use real numbers for the prior months or years as published in Apple’s official, legal reports but estimates for current months, quarters, or years. Then when the real numbers came out showing the Mac’s declines were less than they previously estimated (or in some instances did not decline at all), they did not correct their reports. It was easy for them to loudly report false data claiming Apple was dying much, much faster than it really was when comparing inaccurate estimates with real data, then never publish corrections.

    Consequently, I’ve always taken IDC’s and Gartner’s estimates with a grain of salt so large you’d need a 120 ton crane to lift it.

  3. I think the trick is to take last quarter’s real sales and divide it by IDCs # to generate the IDC mark down ratio. Then use IDCs new number and multiply that by the ratio to get a likely number for the current quarter.

    1. No, the best solution is to write IDC’s number on a piece of paper, divide the piece of paper into 64 equal parts and then scatter the pieces in the wind. Then you wait a few days for the exact sales numbers when Apple announces them.

      You don’t actually need to do the bit about writing IDC’s number down, but it’s a little more fun that way.

  4. It seems, considering Mac sales reports and iPhone uptake reports, from third parties, that someone is trying to “deflate” Apple’s numbers.

    For what ends? Is this another attempt at manipulation?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.