Worldwide Mac Sales Up Slightly as PC Market Continues to Decline in Q1 2017
Amid a continuing decline in worldwide PC shipments, Apple's Mac sales are up slightly, according to new PC shipping estimates shared today by Gartner.
During the first quarter of 2017, Apple shipped an estimated 4.2 million Macs worldwide, up from 4 million in the year-ago quarter for an estimated growth of 4.5 percent. During the quarter, Apple held 6.8 percent of the market, up from 6.3 percent during the first quarter of 2016, allowing the company to hold on to its position as the number five PC vendor in the world.
Lenovo, HP, and Dell, the top three worldwide PC vendors, saw shipment growth during the quarter. Lenovo shipped an estimated 12.4 million PCs for 20 percent of the market (1.2 percent growth), HP shipped an estimated 12.1 million PCs for 19.5 percent of the market (6.5 percent growth), and Dell shipped 9.4 million PCs for an estimated 15 percent of the market (3.4 percent growth).
Asus, the number four PC vendor in the world, saw a sharp decline in growth, shipping only an estimated 4.5 million PCs compared to 5.3 million during the first quarter of 2016. Acer and the "Other" group composed of smaller manufacturers also saw declines.
According to Gartner, overall worldwide PC shipments totaled 62.2 million units, a 2.4 decline compared to the first quarter of 2016.
"While the consumer market will continue to shrink, maintaining a strong position in the business market will be critical to keep sustainable growth in the PC market. Winners in the business segment will ultimately be the survivors in this shrinking market," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "Vendors who do not have a strong presence in the business market will encounter major problems, and they will be forced to exit the PC market in the next five years. However, there will also be specialized niche players with purpose-built PCs, such as gaming PCs and ruggedized laptops."
"The top three vendors -- Lenovo, HP and Dell -- will battle for the large-enterprise segment. The market has extremely limited opportunities for vendors below the top three, with the exception of Apple, which has a solid customer base in specific verticals."
In the United States, PC shipments totaled 12.3 million units in 1Q 2017, also a 2.4 percent decline compared to 1Q 2016. Apple is the number four PC vendor in the United States, shipping an estimated 1.47 million Macs (for 12 percent market share), a slight decline from the 1.48 million Macs shipped in the first quarter of 2016.
While HP saw 16 percent growth in the United States with an estimated 3.6 million shipments, shipments were down for Dell (3.2M), Lenovo (1.7M), and Asus (503,000).
IDC also released its PC market shipment estimates today, and as per usual, its numbers tell a different story, in part because of the difference in the way tablets are counted by each firm.
According to IDC, the PC market saw its first growth in five years, with worldwide shipments totaling 60.3 million in the first quarter of 2017 for year-over-year growth of 0.6 percent. IDC's estimates for Apple are similar to Gartner's, with IDC suggesting worldwide Mac shipments of 4.2 million units, up from 4 million in the year-ago quarter for 4.1 percent growth.
It's important to note that data from Gartner and IDC is preliminary and that the numbers can shift, sometimes dramatically and sometimes less so. Last year, for example, Gartner estimated Mac shipments of 4.6 million in the first quarter of 2016, but the actual number was just over 4 million.