Apple Again Trails U.S. PC Market in Key Back-to-School Quarter as Tablets Continue to Eat Into PC Sales
"The third quarter is often referred to as the 'back-to-school' quarter for PC sales, and sales this quarter dropped to their lowest volume since 2008," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "Consumers' shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets. A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets."
According to Gartner's numbers, the U.S. market held up significantly better than the global market, actually registering a 3.5% increase in shipments led by fourth-place Lenovo's 24.6% gain. For its part, Apple was the only one of the top five vendors to see a year-over-year decline in shipments, falling by 2.3% to take 13.4% of the market. Apple was, however, able to show some relative strength over the previous quarter, using its popularity in education to increase its U.S. share from 11.6% in the second quarter to 13.4% in the back-to-school third quarter.
IDC's numbers painted an even worse picture for Apple, with the company's 11.2% year-over-year decline in U.S. Mac shipments trailing the overall U.S. market, which declined just 0.2%. As in the Gartner survey, third-place Apple, which garnered 11.6% of the U.S. market according to IDC, was the only one of the top five PC manufacturers to see a decline in shipments.
As usual, neither Gartner nor IDC covered Apple's worldwide market share for the quarter, as the company does not rank among the top five vendors on a worldwide basis.
The only Mac product Apple updated leading into the back-to-school shopping season was the MacBook Air, which was updated at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The iMac, Apple's flagship desktop machine, was not updated until late last month while the MacBook Pro has not been updated since February. Apple's Mac mini is also due for an update, and an all-new version of the Mac Pro is set for release by the end of this year.