The PC Market Is Dying, Even For Apple. But Apple Has A Plan.

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Slowly but surely, the worldwide PC market is drying up. In the first quarter, a recent report from IDC says that worldwide PC shipments have slipped 4.4% year-over years. And not even Apple has proven immune to the wasting away of the PC market, but they’re still making up for it on other ways.

In the report, IDC says that worldwide PC shipments totalled just 73.4 million units in the first quarter of 2014, down over last year.

Lenovo is doing the best trade, mostly through business deals: they shipped 12.9 million units. HP was next at 12.55 million, Dell in third at 9.8 million, and Acer and ASUS made the list and fourth and fifth place.

In the United States, HP is the number one PC shipper, followed by Dell, Lenovo, and then Apple, who is fourth. Again, you can likely put most of HP, Dell, and Lenovo’s success on corporate deals. That said, Apple is likely the most profitable U.S. PC maker: even at fourth place, the competition is selling their models at razor thin margins just to get them out the door.

This is all reflective of a general crisis going on in the PC industry.

According to the IDC’s Vice President of Worldwide PC Trackers, Loren Loverde, “Worldwide PC shipments have now declined for eight consecutive quarters as a result of shifting technology usage and competition (notably with tablets & smartphones) as well as economic pressures (including high unemployment, slow growth & investment, tight credit, and currency fluctuations) related to the Great Recession, sovereign debt crises, and their related impact on international trade.”

The difference between Apple and these other companies, though, is that Apple’s eating its own lunch: it has made up for lower Mac sales with higher iPhone and iPad sales. And while they’re at it, they’re eating the competition’s lunch too.

  • TheMadTurtle

    I realize there is some factual truth in the conclusions drawn here. What I would be interested in, though, is to know whether or not some of the decline in PC sales is related to Windows 8. No one really talks about that and I don’t understand why. It seems to me that if Windows 8 is so universally hated, that it may be a factor in driving down PC sales.

    • Jacob

      Don’t forget the fact that there are people that look for what they want to hear and report it (this author), and completely disregard the truth because that is not what they believe. It’s sad and pisses a lot of people off.

  • El Caballero que dice Ni

    The PC market is not “dying”, it is shrinking a bit as tablets and phones take some of that market, but PCs are not going away.

    • elder Signin

      No one says the PC market is dying. Steve Jobs said its like cars and trucks. You will always need trucks. But in todays world, cars make more sense for the average (and largest buyer) of electronics.

      If you remove Apple computer sales from the world wide numbers, you will see an even bigger drop as Apple is holding its own on computers. And Mac Pros just cannot ship fast enough.

      • El Caballero que dice Ni

        “No one says the PC market is dying”

        The title of this post starts with “The PC market is dying …”

    • http://www.feastofbeast.com DJBabyBuster

      Agreed. While the iPad is great for media consumption, I’d take my macbook pro over it any day to actually accomplish anything.

      • Bob Ratcliff

        Ditto!

  • elder Signin

    Hmmmm, article sounds like a hit piece as title has little to do with article and almost no actual data involved.

    If you remove Apple computer sales from world wide sales, the decrease is 2-3 X bigger.
    Mac sales are even, give or take and the iPad is selling like crazy.
    Yes there are lots of cheap, third party android tablets selling for under $100, used as throw away toys for the kids. No one buys apps in any volume.

    And if you add tablets into the computer mix, Apple jumps to the largest computer maker in the world. Now hate Apple if you will, ignore what their sales and PROFIT numbers are, pretend they will just fade away, but samsung 5s units are already going BOGO (buy one get one free). If you are selling tons, you do not do this. There is no profit in this. And there is no loyalty in cheap third party tablets.

    So that leaves Apple with a full ecosystem, apps, iTunes, computers (Airs to Pro units) tablets, phones, music players/computers, AppleTV. Just about everything that just works together. No one else is even on the same playing field.

    Now, please understand that I have issues with Apple also, but ignoring the facts does not make them go away.
    Just saying.

  • moofer

    I have this rule that separates the amateur bloggers from real press. I stop reading when I hit an obvious type-o. I figure, if you’re not going to take the time to properly edit, I’m not going to take the time to read it. Here, I stopped reading at “year over years”. Two whole sentences. Congrats.

    • Morgan Blackpowder

      You used a comma wrong. You’ve also misspelled “Congratulations” (unless you’re doing slang, if so shame on you).

  • Bob Ratcliff

    Reports are flying ALL over the place. I just read that the MacBook line saw another 18% increase this past quarter alone while ALL other manufactures continue to see sales drop (less units than before Windows 8 was released). In my little world I’m seeing more and more people take the Mac plunge due to irritation over Windows 8 and ALL the new additional costs for software a person must either rent or buy brand new from Microsoft.

    With inexpensive tablets and smart phones flooding the market, my bet is people just want a cheap way to access a few things they really enjoy via the internet. The need to spend 1,100 – $2,500 for a notebook is becoming less important while they stare down incessant inflation for items such as energy, insurance, food, & housing. Enjoying the computing experience does come at a price many simply can’t afford. Meanwhile I just go with out pizza delivery or sushi. Perhaps the world is reevaluating what’s important?

  • brian botkiller

    And where exactly do you think all your silly apps are programmed? Not on the iPhone. Blather all you want. REAL computers are needed to make the toys you all love.

  • brian botkiller

    Ps, this article was written by a brain dead idiot. What was the “plan”, idiot box? You didn’t write anything worth a crap. If this article were printed, I wouldn’t wipe my as with it.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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