Is Apple Winning or Losing the U.S. PC Market?

Source: IDC.comDid Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) gain or lose U.S. PC market share in the December quarter? Apparently the answer depends on which market research firm you ask. Although Gartner and IDC agreed that the worldwide PC market experienced its seventh consecutive quarter of declining shipments, the two firms came to wildly different conclusions about how Apple performed in the U.S. market last quarter.

Gartner reported that Apple boosted its Mac sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 with 28.5 percent year-over-year growth. By Gartner’s measure, Apple increased its share of the U.S. PC market to 13.7 percent last quarter, compared to the 9.9 percent share that it held in the same quarter in 2012. This market expansion gave Apple a third-place ranking on Gartner’s list of the top five PC vendors in the U.S.

However, as seen in the table above, IDC reported that Apple lost U.S. PC market share last quarter. According to IDC’s data, Apple saw a 5.7 percent decline in U.S. Mac sales, rather than the 28.5 percent bump that Gartner recorded. IDC reported that Apple’s share of the U.S. PC market dropped to 9.3 percent in the December quarter from the 9.7 percent it held during the same period last year. Based on IDC’s data, Apple ranked fourth overall in the U.S. PC market.

Gartner and IDC also calculated vastly different total unit shipment numbers for Apple. Gartner estimated that Apple shipped around 2.1 million Macs in the fourth quarter of 2013. On the other hand, IDC estimated that Apple only shipped about 1.6 million units in the quarter.

The market research firms also had differing perspectives on the overall state of the domestic PC market. IDC reported that the U.S. market contracted by 1.6 percent. Meanwhile, Gartner recorded a 7.5 percent year-over-year decline. On the other hand, both firms came to similar conclusions about the worldwide PC market. Gartner reported total worldwide shipments of 82.6 million units and a 6.9 percent decline while IDC reported worldwide shipments of 82.2 million units and a 5.6 percent decline.

Although the research firms came to markedly different conclusions about Apple’s performance in the domestic market, it is unknown how much the firms differed on Apple’s worldwide performance, since Apple failed to crack the top five global PC vendor list at either firm. Although Apple will report its worldwide Mac sales when it delivers its next quarterly earnings report on January 27, the California-based company typically doesn’t reveal its regional sales figures.

Here’s how Apple traded on Friday.


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