Growth in Mac shipments leaves rivals in the dust

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16-inch MacBook Pro from 2019
Customers are snapping up notebooks while interest in desktops is waning, according to IDC.
Photo: Apple

Shipments of Macs grew an astonishing 39% during the third quarter of 2020, reports a market-research firm. That’s a far faster growth rate than any of Apple’s rivals.

Still, the entire market for traditional computers — laptops, desktops and workstations — grew 14.6% in the July-through-September period. The reason is, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to work or attend school from home.

An outstanding quarter for Mac

Apple shipped 6.89 million Macs last quarter, according to IDC. That’s up from 4.95 million is the same quarter of 2019. Apple itself doesn’t announce these figures, so they have to be estimated.

And sales potentially could have been higher. “Had the market not been hampered by component shortages, notebook shipments would have soared even higher during the third quarter as market appetite was yet unsatiated,” said Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst with IDC.

Processors are among the components in short supply. That’s one of the reasons Apple is dumping Intel chips and going with its own — it’ll no longer have to compete with rivals for a limited supply of Intel processors.

Apple Mac shipments vs. Windows PC makers

The growth in Mac sales gave Apple 8.5% of the global market for traditional computers, according to IDC. That’s up from 7.0% in Q3 2019.

Its larger competitors include Lenovo with 23.7% of the market last quarter, and HP with 23.0% Their shipments increased 11.3% and 11.2% respectively. Dell had 14.8% of the market in the July-to-September period, but it’s shipments actually declined slightly.

Acer has a smaller share of the market than Apple at 7.4%. But with 29.3% growth, it’s the only other company that saw an increase in shipments anywhere close to the Mac-maker’s.

Just keep in mind that these figures are only for traditional computers. They ignore that fact that 2-in-1 tablet/laptops are a significant percentage of computers used for business and school in 2020. With tablets included, iPad sales made Apple the second-largest computer maker in the world.