Apple sales down, but no Macpocalypse

New figures from IDC and Gartner show Apple’s immunity to falling PC sales has ended.

Global PC sales have fallen for five years in a row. Until now Apple bucked the trend. Mac sales continued to grow while every other major brand declined. This saw Apple’s market share increase.

IDC’s latest quarterly report says total PC shipments fell 4.5 percent year-on-year. Gartner puts the drop at 5.2 percent. The two companies have different ideas about what counts as a PC, hence the difference.

According to IDC’s numbers, Apple shipments dropped 8.3 percent year on year. Gartner said Apple shipments fell 4.9 percent.

By IDC numbers Apple’s market share edged down from 7.4 percent to 7.1 percent. Gartner says Apple’s market share was steady at 7.1 percent.

One bright spot is total PC sales fell a little less than forecasters expected during the last 12 months.

A possible explanation for Apple’s recent decline is that Macs are overdue for a refresh. This comes at a time when rival PC makers like HP are lifting their game.

The only significant new Apple computer introduced in the past year has been the 2016 MacBook. It’s a fine computer with an emphasis on portability over everything else, but it’s not to everyone’s taste.

Even new models in the popular MacBook Air and MacBook Pro ranges are unlikely to restore growth when they arrive.

Computer sales for all brands have peaked as the baton has passed from laptops to tablets and phones. Although tablet sales are also falling and phone sales growth has stalled.

Falling Mac sales will worry investors, not just those with money in Apple. It’s one of the world’s biggest companies and a bellwether. The market’s eyes will be on Apple’s next financial result at the end of the month.

For the rest of us, it’s not the Macpocalypse but a timely reminder that all growth runs come to an end.

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