Apple's Mac Sales Drop in Q4 2018 Amid Worldwide PC Shipment Decline

Apple's worldwide Mac shipments fell in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to new preliminary PC shipping estimates shared this afternoon by Gartner.

During the quarter, Apple shipped an estimated 4.9 million Macs, down from 5.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple's share of the market grew, however, from 7.1 percent in 3Q18 to 7.2 percent.

Gartner's Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q18 (Thousands of Units)

Apple continues to maintain its position as the number four PC vendor in the world, behind Dell, HP, and Lenovo, but ahead of Asus and Acer.

Lenovo was the top PC vendor with 16.6 million shipments and 24.2 percent market share, followed by HP with 15.4 million shipments and 22.4 percent market share, with Dell coming in at number three with 11 million shipments and 15.9 percent market share.

Asus trailed Apple with 4.2 million shipments and 6.1 percent market share, as did Acer with 3.9 million shipments and 5.6 percent market share.

Apple's Market Share Trend: 1Q06-4Q18 (Gartner)

Apple's dipping Mac sales followed a trend that affected many PC vendors, with overall worldwide PC shipments dropping to 68.6 million, a 4.3 percent drop from the 71.7 million PCs shipped in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Apple also saw a small decline in the number of Macs shipped in the United States. Apple shipped 1.76 million Macs during the quarter, down from 1.8 million in the year-ago quarter, for a 2.1 percent drop in growth and 12.4 percent market share (up from 12.1 percent).

Gartner's Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q18 (Thousands of Units)

HP was the number one PC vendor in the U.S. with 4.7 million PCs shipped, followed by Dell and Lenovo. Microsoft and Acer both trailed Apple.

According to Gartner, overall worldwide PC sales were impacted by a shortage of CPUs and political and economic uncertainties in some countries, including the U.S.

"Political and economic uncertainties in some countries dampened PC demand," Ms. Kitagawa said. "There was even uncertainty in the U.S. -- where the overall economy has been strong -- among vulnerable buyer groups, such as small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Consumer demand remained weak in the holiday season. Holiday sales are no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs."

For all of 2018, Gartner estimates that Apple sold a total of 18 million Macs, down from close to 19 million in 2017. Apple's shipments fell five percent year-over-year, and its total market share for 2018 dropped from 7.2 percent to 6.9 percent.

Gartner's Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2018 (Thousands of Units)

IDC also released its own shipment estimates this afternoon, noting a similar decline in sales for Apple. IDC also ranks Apple as the number four PC vendor in the world with global shipments that reached 4.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.

IDC's data suggests Apple's Mac shipments were down 3.8 percent, with market share remaining steady. Like Gartner, IDC estimates Apple sold 18 million Macs in 2018, down from 19 million in 2017.

It's important to note that data from Gartner and IDC is estimated and while not usually far off from Apple's sales, not entirely accurate, either. While we've been able to check estimated data when Apple provides its quarterly earnings releases with actual Mac sales information, there will be no way to do so going forward.

Apple no longer plans to break out unit sales for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, so determining the exact number of Mac sales will not be possible going forward.

Though sales were down during the holiday quarter, Apple could see some pickup in the future thanks to the October release of the new MacBook Air, a more affordable alternative to the MacBook Pro. The newly refreshed model features a Retina display, Thunderbolt 3 support, up to 16GB of RAM, a T2 chip, a new butterfly keyboard and Force Touch trackpad, and other features.

Tags: IDC, Gartner

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
23 months ago
I'd like to replace my 10 y.o. MBP but not at these prices. NO!
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
I know several people who refuse to buy any Apple laptop that has the crappy NuKeyboard / dust condom. Instead, they stick with their 5+ yo MacBook Pros.

The desktop side is also annoying. Being able to easily access and upgrade RAM is a basic design requirement. Periodic component refreshes are another basic requirement Apple consistently fails at.

Sculley 2.0 and Captain Thin aren't the dynamic duo we need to lead the Mac (or Apple) to greatness.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
Macs are getting really blah and ridiculously expensive so no surprise there. My next working machine will be the new Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga coming out in June. It may have W10, but it's manegable.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago

Comparing Macs sold to Windows PCs sold is comparing  to Oranges. This comparison has been going on for decades. Apple isn't the 4th largest PC builder because it's not a PC. It has always been strange to read these comparisons, as if  is on the same playing field as Windows. This isn't Ford vs Chevy. It's Ford vs Cessna or Lear or... well you get it.

No, I don't get it. I have used both Macs and Windows PCs for years and they provide nearly equivalent function, same as an iPhone vs. an Android phone. People are more and more reaching the point where they aren't willing to pay ridiculous prices for something just because it has a picture of fruit on it. Especially when many of the models don't get updated for years when other companies are bringing innovative products out on a much more frequent cycle.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
So obvious. Limited options for Mac desktop and they are not powerful computers.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
Who would of thought raising prices of Macs would lead to a higher volume
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

Teardown Video Confirms iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Use Same 2,815mAh Battery

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:47 am PDT by
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals. The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but ...

Images of Supposed AirPods Diagnosis Tool Shared Online

Thursday October 22, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Apple is reportedly rolling out a new tool to Apple service providers for testing AirPods, according to leaker known as "Fudge," who shared images of the tool on Twitter. Apple appears to be seeking to reduce unnecessary AirPods services by more accurately diagnosing the cause of a fault. Instances of a dirt-blockage, which may be difficult to ascertain visually, can apparently be...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Apple's AirTags Revealed in Newly Published Patent Applications

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:13 am PDT by
Two patent applications filed by Apple appear to depict the company's widely expected AirTags item trackers (via Patently Apple). The filings, which include a large number of images, are titled "Mounting Base for a Wirelessly Locatable Tag" and "Fastener with a Constrained Retention Ring," and describe a wirelessly locatable tag that can be used to determine the absolute location of an...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...