Apple's Mac Stomps PC Industry with 18.9% Growth and 7.1% Global Share

Apple has once again stomped on the PC industry, posting 18.9 percent year over year growth in the December quarter of 2014, according to research firm IDC. With 5.75 million Macs sold during the quarter, Apple retained its #5 global ranking with 7.1 percent market share.

That's not bad for a company doomed to failure unless it licenses the Mac and joins all the other PC makers in the race to the bottom.

The market as a whole shrunk 2.4 percent, with all of that decline coming from the ill-defined and unsourced "Others" category, which fell 20.7 percent. The other members of the Top 5 all saw year-over-year growth, though only HP's growth was even close to Apple's, as shown in the chart below.

"Apple kept the number 5 position on a worldwide basis, maintaining its lead over ASUS," IDC said in its report. "The company's steady growth, along with recent price cuts and improved demand in mature markets, has helped it to consistently outgrow the market."

Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide PC Shipments, 2014 (Preliminary)
(Units Shipments are in thousands)
Vendor

4Q14
Shipments

4Q14 Market
Share

4Q13
Shipments

4Q13 Market
Share

4Q14/4Q13
Growth

1. Lenovo16,04919.9%15,29418.5%4.9%
2. HP15,88019.7%13,79616.7%15.1%
3. Dell10,87913.5%10,02612.1%8.5%
4. Acer Group6,2207.7%6,0267.3%3.2%
5. Apple5,7507.1%4,8385.8%18.9%
Others25,99432.2%32,79839.6%-20.7%
Total Market80,772100.0%82,778100.0%-2.4%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, January 12, 2015

Apple has been outgrowing the PC market for years, now, and Q4 performance merely continues that trend. The idea, however, that Apple could have more than 7 percent of the global market is, frankly, astounding.

This becomes even more important when one considers that Apple competes almost exclusively on the highest of the high end of the market. Apple's cheapest Mac mini starts at $599, well above the average selling price of roughly $400 for PCs. And the Mac mini is not Apple's best selling Mac.

U.S.

IDC also reported yearly numbers for U.S. According to the firm, Apple sold some 8.085 million Macs in calendar 2014. That was enough to make Apple the #3 computer maker in the U.S., with 12.2 percent share, just behind HP and Dell. That represents 11.4 percent growth compared to 2013.

Top 5 Vendors, United States PC Shipments, 2014 (Preliminary)
(Units Shipments are in thousands)
Vendor

2014
Shipments

2014 Market
Share

2013
Shipments

2013 Market
Share

2014/2013
Growth

1. HP18,33227.6%16,16025.5%13.4%
2. Dell16,15824.3%14,05522.1%15.0%
3. Apple8,08512.2%7,25511.4%11.4%
4. Lenovo7,10010.7%6,1959.8%14.6%
5. Toshiba4,2996.5%4,6477.3%-7.5%
Others12,39618.7%15,15123.9%-18.2%
Total Market66,370100.0%63,465100.0%4.6%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, January 12, 2015

In the U.S., the market grew some 4.6 percent, a rare glimmer of hope for PC makers. While Apple outgrew the market as a whole—most of the losses came from "Others"—Apple didn't outgrow three of the other members of the Top 5. HP, Dell, and Lenovo all saw higher unit growth than Apple. Toshiba saw its year-over-year sales decline.

This dovetails nicely with an editorial from Jim Dalrymple at The Loop about the Mac's place at Apple. In that piece, Mr. Dalrymple argued that, "While the changes to the hardware were, and continue to be, important, the changes to the software are what really ease my mind about the Mac’s place at Apple."

The numbers above show that the numbers back up the ongoing relevance of the Mac, at least to Apple's bottom line.