Mac shipments return to growth but Windows keeps plunging


2023 MacBook Air, Mac Studio and Mac Pro
People are buying more Macs even as Windows shipments slide.
Photo: Apple

Apple is once again the lone bright spot in the global PC industry. Mac shipments grew by double digits year over year while makers of Windows machines all saw their shipments decline, according to a market research firm.

Mac’s return to growth in Q2 must be a relief to CEO Tim Cook as Q1 shipments were down dramatically.

Q2 Mac shipments went up

The pandemic drove up PC sales as people bought computers of all types so they could work or take classes from home. With most people now back in the office or the classroom, analysts expect demand for computers to drop.

And while that was true for Windows PCs during the second quarter of 2023 but not Mac. Shipments of macOS models grew 10.3% versus the same period of 2022, according to analysts with IDC.

Apple itself doesn’t announce how many Macs it ships, but IDC estimates that Cupertino shipped 5.3 million units in the April-through-June period. That’s up from 4.8 million in the same quarter of 2022.

Growth was likely helped by the release in Q1 of improved MacBook Pro models, and the debut of the first 15-inch MacBook Air in June. But shipments haven’t rebounded to where they were at the peak of the pandemic. Back in Q2 2021, Apple shipped 6.2 million Macs.

Still, the total from last quarter is a dramatic turnaround from the first three months of 2023 when Mac shipments went down a painful 41% year over year.

Windows-makers’ shipments take a nosedive

Apple’s Q2 2023 rebound can be partially credited to the PC industry making a poor showing in the same quarter of 2022. COVID lockdowns in China hurt production for all PC-makers, lowering the number of computers they could ship to consumers.

The difference is that Mac shipments went back up in the most recent quarter while every Windows-maker experienced another decline. IDC reports that these ranged from the slight 0.8% drop of HP to a 22% plummet by Dell.

The result is that, despite the gain in Mac shipments, the entire PC market declined 13.4% year over year.

“On the consumer side, we’re seeing a return to pre-pandemic habits where computing needs are shared across multiple devices, and we firmly believe the consumer wallet will favor smartphones over the PC,” said Ryan Reith, an IDC analyst. “On the commercial side, workforce reductions (for many big companies) as well as the introduction of generative AI only add more confusion as to where to place an already reduced budget.”

IDC excludes tablets from these figures. They include only “traditional PCs” — desktops and laptops.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.