IDC sees big enterprise shift to Macs over next 12 months

The research firm anticipates the number of Macs sold to business users worldwide will jump by 20% between this year and 2024.

Apple, IDC, Mac, macOS, PC, PC sales, hardware

Apple may be on the cusp of a rapid expansion of Mac market share across the enterprise computing markets, argues research firm IDC in its latest, slightly optimistic prediction about the PC industry.

IDC now expects that PC sales will return to growth in 2024, even though the overall industry won’t get back to pre-pandemic levels.

Enterprise to prop up consumer sales?

The bottom line is that, with consumer markets remaining relatively weak, market growth in the short term will come from  commercial/enterprise deployments. That’s good news for Apple as its move to accelerated development of its own M-series silicon for Macs is driving steady gains.

“The commercial PC market is getting very interesting for several reasons,” said IDC in a bit of understatement. “From a processor standpoint, we are arguably seeing some of the biggest shifts in commercial PC history with AMD reaching 11% share in 2022 and Apple just over 5% in 2022.”

Accelerating a market shift

Apple’s high-velocity push with its processors certainly plays role. The company is already likely preparing to introduce Macs running the third generation of its M-series processors; these high-performance, low energy chips, capable of running Macs, Windows, and various flavors of Linux (with help from Parallels), are already seeing mass deployment across many businesses.

Smart enterprises know that mobile devices are a big advantage to workers and businesses seeking to equip hybrid workforces. Further, in an age of mobility, Microsoft’s failure to have a viable footprint in mobile tech is a serious weakness that means its slice of enterprise PC sales can only continue to shrink. Apple should also see some benefit when Microsoft ends support for Windows 10 in 2025, when business users will be more prepared than ever to consider moving to Apple hardware.

“It seems clear that Apple sees an opportunity to continue its growth in the commercial segment and this will be an angle to watch closely going forward,” said Ryan Reith, IDC group vice president, in a statement.  

Double-digit growth?

IDC seems to think Apple has a point. The firm anticipates the number of Macs sold to business users worldwide will increase by 20% between 2023 and 2024. True or false, that number certainly makes for a big Mac take away.

While the analysts predict Mac sales growth will slow the following year, it remains to be seen whether the end of support for Windows 10 in 2025 will prompt an unexpected wave of upgrades, as business users dump legacy devices for new Macs.

As companies struggle to meet their own emissions targets, doing so makes sense from a CSR point of view, as from energy requirements to use of recycled materials, companies can polish their own sustainability story by simply switching to Mac.

What's in the rear-view mirror?

No one can accurately predict the future, but when we look back at Apple’s timing on building its own Mac processors, it's hard not to see that it has been spookily well-orchestrated.

The first M-series Macs simply blew us away because they were so far superior to the Intel machines they replaced. They also turned up just as the pandemic struck, when companies everywhere invested in laptops employees could use to keep business running while they worked from home.

Everyone would have understood if Apple had maintained the same Mac processor upgrade cadence it had with Intel Macs, but it decided not to do that. Instead, it is already steaming toward offering three generations of M-series Macs, available in good, better (Pro), and best (Max) configurations.

Each new processor offers significantly more performance than before, and — just like iPhone — competitors now seem to be chasing last year’s model when it comes to matching the raw specs.

Don't forget the M1 upgrades

With this and a raft of other advantages in mind, it remains to be seen whether Apple will meet IDC’s current global expectations for sales in the enterprise market or exceed those estimates.

And with the first M1 Macs ripe for upgrade in the next couple of years, there’s a strong possibility the company might soon enter a virtuous upgrade circle to help consolidate its gains, even as it heads towards meeting its own carbon neutral, cyclical manufacturing targets in 2030.

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Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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