The Mac lineup has reached an extensive sinking point. Sales for Apple’s laptop lineup are constantly declining, and according to the latest research data for Q3 2016 from Gartner and IDC, things are not looking positive for Cupertino giant. Worldwide Mac shipments have yet again faced a substantial decline, although, this time, by a whopping 13%. They constituted nearly 7.4 percent of the worldwide PC market with 5.7 Million units, down from 8.1% last year. The crucial rationale isn’t because customers are preferring PCs; it’s due to the fact that they’re awaiting a long overdue upgrade Apple still hasn’t remotely addressed.
While Windows PCs are already benefiting from the new Kaby Lake chipsets from Intel, the last upgrade Apple’s Macbook Pro received was more than a year back. Moreover, the Mac Pro also hasn’t been refreshed in over three years which is quite bewildering given how advanced the market has gotten since.
The overall PC market, in general, has been showing signs of decline for more than a year now. Worldwide PC shipments have fallen by 5.7% to 68.9 Million units compared to the third quarter of 2015, making it the eighth consecutive quarter of PC shipment decline, which is the longest in the industry history.
On the other hand, IDC data suggests shipments totaled nearly 68 million units in the third quarter of 2016, marking a significant year-on-year decline of 3.9%. However, these outcomes were still 3.2% ahead of estimations. These “better than expected” numbers are, in fact, because PC vendors are now doubling down to build up their inventory for the upcoming festive season, the most crucial period for any product lineup. Furthermore, in an effort to exert a growing advantage over smaller players, market leaders have been dominating the shelf space and supplies. The top 3 PC vendors (Lenovo, HP, Dell), as a result, constitute over 58% of the worldwide market, up from 55% a year ago.
While sales are expected to get better later this year, thanks to the holiday upgrades, PC manufacturers are currently facing a series of challenges, including feeble back-to-school period and the absence of potential demands in emerging markets. As stated by Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, the two leading fundamental issues impacting these declines are – firstly, the prolonged lifetimes of personal computers nowadays and the unyielding elevation of product categories. The majority of consumers own at least three different types of devices, among which PC plays the least priority role, the higher ones being phones and tablets. It has been forecasted by a series of researchers that people might not buy a conventional PC again.
Mikako Kitagawa further added, “In emerging markets, PC penetration is low, but consumers are not keen to own PCs. Consumers in emerging markets primarily use smartphones or phablets for their computing needs, and they don’t find the need to use a PC as much as consumers in mature markets.”
It is, however, worth keeping in mind that neither IDC nor Gartner counts devices with a detachable keyboard, such as Surface Pro, as “PCs.”
Adding further on this, Linn Huang, research director of Devices & Displays, stated, “Although we’ve now seen two consecutive quarters of strong market growth, we believe the strong market performance has less to do with strengthening demand and more to do with increased appetite from the channel for inventory, we will need a strong holiday season to ensure that we don’t enter 2017 in a poor inventory situation.“