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Mac Shipments Down in Q4 2019 Amid Overall PC Market Growth
Apple shipped an estimated 5.26 million Macs during the quarter, down from 5.43 million in the year-ago quarter, a decline of three percent.
Apple's market share was also down, dipping from 7.9 percent in Q4 2018 to 7.5 percent in Q4 2019. The drop in Apple's shipments comes as the overall PC market saw growth for the first time since 2011, driven by demands for Windows 10 upgrades.
Apple maintained its position as the number four PC vendor in the world, trailing behind Lenovo, HP, and Dell, all of which saw year-over-year growth.
Lenovo was the top PC vendor with 17.5 million shipments and 24.8 percent market share, followed by HP with 16.1 million shipments and 22.8 percent market share and Dell with 12.1 million PCs shipped and 17.2 percent market share.
Asus and Acer came in after Apple with around four million PCs shipped each and 5.8 and 5.7 percent market share, respectively. Aside from a small drop in Asus shipments, Apple was the only major PC vendor to see Q4 2019 shipments fall.
Apple fared a bit better in the United States, with shipments that were about stagnant. Apple shipped 2.13 million Macs in the U.S., up 0.8 percent from the 2.11 million that it shipped in the fourth quarter of 2018. Apple is the number four vendor in the U.S., coming in after HP, Dell, and Lenovo, with Microsoft coming in behind Apple. Overall U.S. PC shipments were also up 4.6 percent year over year.
For all of 2019, Apple's worldwide Mac shipments were down 0.9 percent, with Apple shipping an estimated 18.4 million Macs during the year compared to 18.5 million in 2018. Apple's overall 2019 market share came in at 7 percent, with Apple securing the number four spot after Lenovo (63 million PCs shipped), HP (58 million PCs shipped), and Dell (44 million PCs shipped).
In the future, Gartner believes the PC market will continue to decline, despite the growth this year, though new technologies like foldable PCs are "something to keep an eye on."
Product innovation is one of the key factors that will enable the overall PC market to maintain sustainable growth. We've already started to see this through the 'foldable laptops' introduced at CES this past week along with initiatives that make PCs as easy as smartphones by allowing users to always be connected and ensuring a worry-free battery life. Such innovations that change user behavior and create new product segments are something to keep an eye on in 2020 and beyond,IDC also released its own shipment estimates this afternoon, noting a similar decline in sales from Apple. IDC's data suggests Apple shipped 4.72 million Macs in Q4 2019, down from 4.98 million in the year-ago quarter.
IDC also notes the same decline in total 2019 shipments compared to 2018, suggesting Apple shipped an estimated 17.7 million Macs during the year, down from 18 million in 2018.
It's important to note that data from Gartner and IDC is estimated and not reflective of Apple's sales, though historically, it has not been far off. We used to be able to check estimated shipment data when Apple provided quarterly earnings releases with actual Mac sales information, but Apple no longer breaks out unit sales for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, making it impossible to determine exact sales numbers.
Apple's sales were down in 2019 despite the release of multiple new MacBook models, including the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, and the new Mac Pro. It's not yet clear what Apple is planning for 2020, but thus far we haven't heard rumors of Mac upgrades that suggest a significant boost in sales is on the horizon.