Last time we talked about the sales of Macs and the computer market in general, at the beginning of the year, Apple did not have much to complain about: sales were stable, with a slight increase in the year-on-year comparison; although fifth place in market share among manufacturers was not the most honorable in the world, it was a reasonably acceptable situation.
Now, data for the third quarter of 2017 has arrived and Apple can turn on the yellow light there in its computer division. Or not: everything depends on the source chosen to analyze the scenario.
THE Gartner it was one of the two firms that brought its surveys about the performance of the computer industry and, of the two, it is the one that presents the most worrying situation for Apple. According to the company, the PC market suffered a 3.6% drop in general sales in this third quarter compared to the same period last year – a decline driven mainly by the United States, where the index reached a negative 10% ( in other markets, such as Japan and Latin America, sales remained relatively stable).
In this survey, Apple’s decline was even greater than that of the industry: if in the third quarter of 2016 approximately 4.9 million Macs were shipped, in the period this year the number dropped to about 4.6 million – a decrease of 5 , 6%. As a result, Apple returned to fifth place among manufacturers (it had risen briefly to fourth in the second quarter), with a market share of 6.9% – behind, respectively, HP (the only one with sales growth), Lenovo, Dell and ASUS.
In total, approximately 67 million computers were shipped worldwide in the third quarter of 2017, against 69.5 million shipped in the same period last year – with that, we have the 12th consecutive quarter with a shrinking market. Really, smartphones and tablets rocked the world, right?
The other survey of the industry comes from IDC and, in the firm’s estimates, Apple is not in such a rough sea. Here, the PC market’s shrinkage is much smaller, with 67.1 million units shipped in the last quarter accounted for 67.4 million in the same period last year (a decrease of 0.5%). The Apple, in turn, had a slight increase of 0.3% year-on-year – 4.9 million against 4.8 million units shipped, which guaranteed the fourth place in market share, with an index 7.3%.
Whatever research you choose to analyze, it is worth remembering a very important fact: the last quarter was the first quarter of sales for iMacs and MacBooks. [Pro/Air] updated and, in other circumstances, it would be the case that we see a jump in the pace of sales – as is normal when new products are launched. If the numbers from both IDC and Gartner tell us anything, it is that the public’s interest in Apple computers, from a global point of view, is cooling – cooling, in fact, even faster than interest in computers in general, which it is an inevitable trend.
Perhaps it’s time for Apple to make a choice: either admit that it has become a company mostly of mobile devices and significantly shrinks its line of Macs (keeping, say, just one model to be able to focus on it harder) or returns to give greater attention to their computers, making them more attractive to loyal customers or possible new consumers. Apple has cash on hand to do whatever it wants with Macs for decades, but as it stands, the situation is far from ideal.