Apple just keeps beating up the PC market

Two weeks into 2016 and Apple's fundamentals seem pretty good

Apple, iOS, Mac, OS X, PC sales
Curtis Palmer/Flickr

Apple is on a roll, beating the PC market and offering the most integrated mobile platform, the latest data shows.

screen shot 2016 01 13 at 13.19.15 Gartner

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 75.7 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, an 8.3 percent decline Q4. “For the year, 2015 PC shipments totaled 288.7 million units, an 8 percent decline from 2014, Gartner said. In contrast to an 8 percent market decline, Apple’s share of the market grew 5.8 percent.

screen shot 2016 01 13 at 13.19.31 IDC

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 71.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015 (4Q15), a year-on-year decline of 10.6 percent, meaning 2015 was the first year in which under 300 million PCs sold since 2008, said IDC. In contrast to the 10.6 percent decline, Apple saw 2.8 percent growth and becomes the world’s fourth biggest PC maker with around 8 percent market share.

What makes these figures remarkable is that they do not include iPad sales but do include some tablet-type devices from other manufacturers. This statistical blind spot can’t disguise that Apple’s ecosystem outsold Windows in 2015 for the first time, as noted by Asymco.

The importance of mobile

Mobile is critical. Those mobile devices you carry today are harbingers of a highly connected planet on which we will live tomorrow. Tomorrow’s world is smart, intelligence is everywhere and everything will be connected.

Apple leads in mobile – perhaps not in terms of raw numbers of products sold, but certainly in terms of offering a cohesive global platform.

ios 9

75 percent of active iOS devices run the current version of the operating system meaning developers can dream of delivering consistent user experiences without breaking their development budgets...

Where mobile goes, Apple’s Mac sales inevitably follow. The strength of the iOS ecosystem is reflected across the OS X franchise, and people buying into one platform soon become curious about the other. Mac sales have outpaced the PC market in around 38 of the last 39 quarters.

PC replacement

Mobile devices can replace PCs for some tasks. "I think if you're looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?" asked Apple CEO, Tim Cook last year when touting iPad Pro. He may have been on a marketing drive, but he has a point – what we expect from computers is changing.

Some say Apple’s success is dependent on “marketing”, (though you could argue the same for anyone). The argument misses the big picture – marketing is only part of the process, what matters is that once people choose your product you must also meet and exceed their expectations.

Apple’s high customer satisfaction figures reflect its success in achieving this, while also nurturing a general willingness among its customers to install the latest updates and purchase new Apple kit. It’s all about creating a positive consensual customer experience – an alliance between the company and its customers.

It’s well known that this positive alliance is driving increased use of Apple products in the enterprise market. 67 percent of enterprise IT pros think the Mac will “cut into PC share over the next three years.” In response, Microsoft is considering forcing Windows users to upgrade their PCs whether they want to or not, according to some reports – a crazy idea given the importance of customer relationships in a digital age.

And Apple is already plotting its next move.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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