Once again, IDC and Gartner were both quite wrong in estimating Apple’s Q4 Mac shipments

“Two research groups that estimate global PC shipments not only served up incorrect data as fact, but also used the bogus figures to reach entirely false conclusions about Apple’s Macs in the global PC market,” Daniel Eran Dilger writes for Roughly Drafted. “This isn’t the first time they’ve been so wrong but outlines the lack of accuracy from third-party “sales estimates” as Apple prepares to stop reporting its official sales numbers altogether.”

“The reality is that among the manufacturers they report sales from, none apart from Apple publish verifiable data on their actual shipments. And now that Apple has reported its Mac shipments, it’s clear that estimates from Gartner and IDC do not deserve solid confidence,” Dilger writes. “Garner reported that Apple had sold 4.928 million Macs in calendar Q3, while IDC issued a parallel report that credited Apple with sales of 4.762 million. That’s a difference between the two of 166 thousand Macs, something that should have already raised eyebrows. But Apple’s actual sales for the quarter were officially reported as 5.3 million. That means third-party ‘estimates’ were off by as much as a double-digit percentage.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: God only knows how bad Gartner and IDC’s PC numbers are, since many of those vendors never report unit share numbers at all.

This shows the folly of estimating unit shipments, yet again.

Of course, with Apple ceasing to provide real unit sales figures, these third-party outfits will never be fact-checked and their wild estimates will be treated as gospel by certain media outlets and pundits especially if and when they concoct bad numbers for Apple products.

Apple’s exposes IDC’s and Gartner’s flawed Mac unit sales estimates – November 3, 2017
Apple wants U.S. Supreme Court to undo previous decision regarding an antitrust suit – October 31, 2018
U.S. Supreme Court will decide if Apple’s App Store is an anti-competitive monopoly – June 19, 2018
U.S. Supreme Court to consider Apple appeal in antitrust suit over App Store prices – June 18, 2018
US DOJ sides with Apple over App Store antitrust allegations in Supreme Court brief – May 10, 2018
9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revives antitrust lawsuit against Apple – January 13, 2017
Apple App Store antitrust complaint dismissed on procedural grounds by U.S. judge – August 16, 2013


  1. Exactly. With Apple failing to provide real data, these analysts’ proclamations will now be treated as the real deal. No one will be able to argue against the analysts. If they say Mac sales fell 20%, then they did, regardless of what is real. If they say that iPhone sales are down, no one will have data to counter that.

    Good job Pipeline. That’s a way to support your company!

    1. Relax, Von Tink. Smart people will know that the analyst numbers are mostly crap. Dumb people will continue doing the dumb things that dumb people do, regardless of the available information.

      The market will soon adjust to having to work harder to try to figure out Apple given less data from the company. I have no sympathy for the analysts, since most of them sucked even when Apple was hand-feeding them solid data.


  2. Well, Best Buy needs to report how many Samsung washing machines have been sold, as well as dish washer, smartphones, cameras, cooktops, ovens. Macy’s need to report how many dresses, pants, shoes, make-up, skin-care have been sold, or else they are doomed. LOL.

  3. Great news you one staring mouth breathers. The stock market is blasting up 1.8% (NASDAQ) while Apple is once again going negative. Relentless selling of AAPL. Total destruction of shareholder value.

    All courtesy of Pipeline.

    The one staring mouth breathers dont care. They support Pipeline.

    1. Apple stock is suffering due to Trump’s impending trade war with China, Tinkerbell. The fact Apple manufactures in China and (formerly) sells tons in China, makes Apple stock trade according to the latest trade pronouncements, which have been dismal.

  4. I think the SEC should require all analysts to list with each analysis, the accuracy of their last, or prior, analysis for the product/company they are providing “guidance” regarding estimates. There estimates can have devastating effects on a company’s stock prices. While it would be difficult to prove intent to manipulate stock prices, those who look to these analysts for guidance should clearly see their scorecard, so that they can decide how much weight they want to give to their prognosticating.

  5. How are these loser organizations still in business. They get it more wrong more often than the weatherman. These are the same geniuses that told us by this year, windows mobile would rule the earth.

    Why does MDN and other outlets keep giving these losers oxygen reporting on what they said. Isn’t there penalty for being losers and wrong this long? In this industry it should be to be shunned.

    These hacks are market manipulators at best, and complete incompetents, more likely.

    1. These companies are still in business because google ad pushers like mdn need to create controversy. Mdn knows its sheep don’t subscribe to serious business intelligence reports. They don’t understand methods or error bars. Just more fodder to distort with edited headlines and selective reporting to support your tribe. Mdn doesn’t even feel the least embarrassment for its loose factual relationship and its highly polarized biases.

      If all business analysis is rubbish as mdn repeatedly asserts, then why does not mdn stop the charade? Surely expert stock picker mdn would be independently wealthy and have no need to run annoying google ads if mdn was smarter than all the evil analysts. But no, mdn is too lazy to even evaluate analyses. It just takes pot shots when it can.

      Mac shipments are buoyed by massive discounting. Timmy waited so long to update Macs and overpriced them so badly that the market for new Mac sales is soft. That is the consensus among everyone. Mac offers no killer software anymore so its sales are mostly people replacing old Macs and of course a few new fashionistas. Nobody including Apple actually runs a complex business exclusively on Macs. Bad strategy by Cookie.

  6. Everyone — especially Daniel Eran Dilger, since he’s been around awhile watching all this play out — needs to chill out.

    Even being 10% percent off is better for most investors than absolutely no data until well after the fact. You do realize that Apple often reports a quarter’s information more than 30 days AFTER the close of that quarter, don’t you? Investors need some general indication of how things are moving during that 30+ day period.

    Both IDC and Gartner are much better with regard to Apple and Mac shipments than they were in the Dark Days. Back then they could often be more than 20% off. Further, their sales increase/decrease percentages were always based upon actuals versus projected.

    Think of it this way for how it was back then (all numbers just for illustrative purposes ONLY): Apple in Q1 says they sold 1 million Macs in their SEC filings. Gartner/IDC reports near the end of Q2 that Apple will have sold 750,000 Macs in Q2 for a decrease/market loss of 25%. Then Apple comes out with official numbers saying they sold 900,000 or a 10% decrease. (That’s the way it was back then. Apple was losing says on a regular basis.) In their reporting for Q3 Gartner/IDC would report projected sales of 700,000 against Apples reported 900,000 for a 22% decrease. Then subsequently Apple would officially report that it sold 850,000 Macs for a less than 6% decrease.

    This was the standard mode back then.

    Both are better now — even if far from perfect. All analysts and savvy investors know to take IDC’s and Gartner’s numbers with a grain of salt. At least that grain of salt is vastly smaller than it was 20+ years ago.

  7. With Apple courageously deciding to get off the band wagon of numbers..
    Im looking forward to day the profitability and distribution of revenues become the focus..
    And all these numbers guesstimates and bs take a back seat permanently.

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