IDC: Apple’s Mac sales up in Q1 as PC industry records first growth in 5 years

Hot on the heels of Apple’s Mac-focused pre-announcement last week, IDC is out today with new data concerning the PC industry as a whole. According to the data, worldwide shipments of PCs totaled 60.3 million during Q1 2017, for year-over-year growth of 0.6 percent, while Apple also continued its strong performance…

While the growth is minimal, it’s notable for the PC manufacturers as it marks the industry’s return to growth after 5 years of declining shipments. The 0.6 percent growth also outshines initial expectations, which had claimed the PC industry would fall by 1.8 percent during the quarter.

IDC explains that while PCs face increased competition from smartphones and tablets, consumers are generally delaying their PC purchase rather than forgetting it altogether. Because of this, the IDC believes that Q1 2017 marks the beginning of a “replacement cycle” that will drive industry growth.

IDC research manager Jay Chou:

“Users have generally delayed PC replacements rather than giving up PCs for other devices. The commercial market is beginning a replacement cycle that should drive growth throughout the forecast. Consumer demand will remain under pressure, although growth in segments like PC Gaming as well as rising saturation of tablets and smartphones will move the consumer market toward stabilization as well.”

As for vendor-specific information, today’s data shows strong performance across the board. HP had an especially strong quarter, taking the first place position for the first time since 2013. The company saw growth of 13.1 percent year-over-year. Lenovo comes in second place, with 1.7 percent growth and Dell rounds out the top three with 6.2 percent growth.

Holding strong at fourth place, however, is Apple. The company saw 4.1 percent growth in shipments year-over-year, according to the data. Apple’s marketshare rose slightly from 6.7 percent to 6.8 percent. Acer closes out the top five with 2.9 percent growth.

Gartner today is also out with its new data, telling a different story than IDC. The Gartner data shows an overall decline for the PC industry by 2.4 percent. This discrepancy in data, however, seems to be due to Chromebooks, which IDC includes in its tracking, but Gartner does not. Last year, IDC data claimed that ChromeOS sales were actually outpacing Mac.


“Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads.”


“Traditional PCs include Desktops, Notebooks, and Workstations and do not include Tablets or x86 Servers. Detachable Tablets and Slate Tablets are part of the Personal Computing Device Tracker, but are not addressed in this press release.”

The data comes following Apple overhauling its Mac strategy. The company last week announced that it has a new modular Mac Pro coming at some point in the future, as well as new pro-focused iMacs. Additionally, the company reported strong MacBook Pro sales, with Phil Schiller saying:

“Obviously, as you know, we just did a very major update to the MacBook Pro line. That’s going very well. Customers absolutely love it, we’ve had a lot of customers buying them. Big numbers, as I said, 20 percent growth year over year. We’re very proud of those products; we know there’s feedback on things that can be done better on them.”

Apple has regularly combatted the slowing PC industry, often posting growing shipment numbers despite the industry’s overall decline. Today’s IDC data shows the rest of the industry start to keep pace with Apple. The full press release is below.

Traditional PC Market Was Up Slightly, Recording Its First Growth In Five Years as HP Recovered the Top Position, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, workstation) totaled 60.3 million units in the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17), posting year-over-year growth of 0.6%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. The previous forecast had expected shipments to decline 1.8% in the quarter. And, while the 0.6% growth was arguably flat, the result nonetheless represented the first foray back into positive territory since Q2 2012, when many users still considered PCs their first computing device.

Like the second half of 2016, some of the same forces continue to shape the market. Tight supplies of key components such as NAND and DRAM are affecting inventory dynamics and led a number of vendors to boost shipments to lock in supply ahead of further cost increases. In addition, the market continued along a path of stabilization that began in the latter half of last year, especially as more commercial projects moved out of pilot mode and began shipments in earnest.

From a geographic perspective, mature markets again outdid emerging markets. All regions exceeded forecast except for the United States, although the U.S. posted just a slight decline. Despite the generally positive trends, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) and Latin America continued to see year-over-year volume declines.

“The traditional PC market has been through a tough phase, with competition from tablets and smartphones as well as lengthening lifecycles pushing PC shipments down roughly 30% from a peak in 2011,” said Jay Chou, research manager, IDC PCD Tracker. “Nevertheless, users have generally delayed PC replacements rather than giving up PCs for other devices. The commercial market is beginning a replacement cycle that should drive growth throughout the forecast. Consumer demand will remain under pressure, although growth in segments like PC Gaming as well as rising saturation of tablets and smartphones will move the consumer market toward stabilization as well.”

“The U.S. PC market had a weak opening quarter for the year with the consumer PC segment failing to impress after doing fairly well in the previous quarter,” said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices & Displays. “Apart from factors such as relatively improved commercial PC performance as well as a few component shortages, which continued to add to a better inventory situation, the overall PC performance for the quarter remained fairly sublime.”

Regional Highlights

United States: The traditional PC market declined slightly year over year as notebook PCs saw sales slumping this quarter. After a strong holiday season at the end of 2016, the consumer PC market witnessed a comparative slow down this quarter with lower sell-out while the commercial PC market came out strong mostly backed by growth of Chromebooks. Overall, total PC shipments for 1Q17 totaled 13.3 million units.

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA): The EMEA traditional PC market stabilized for the second consecutive quarter, thanks to strong notebook performance. The combination of backlogs, fulfillment from previous quarters, and solid mobility demand in enterprises boosted overall notebook shipments in 1Q17. However, desktops continued to erode, in line with expectations.

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan): The APeJ market remained soft. Weakness in the consumer market persisted, as demand and shipments in many countries were impacted by price increases fueled by tight component supply. The pricing pressure was felt in the Chinese consumer market despite continuing strong demand for gaming and ultraslim notebooks. The commercial market in China performed better, driven by demand in the public sector. The education segment drove shipments in the commercial space, with several projects delivered throughout the region. India saw a rebound after the demonetization severely affected the market in the previous quarter while the back-to-school season allowed for healthy volumes in Korea.

Japan: The traditional PC market has recovered with healthy macroeconomics and an emerging PC refreshment cycle, especially in commercial, leading to the first year-on-year growth since Q2 2014.

Vendor Highlights

HP Inc. took back the top spot for the first time since Q1 2013 after several quarters inching closer to Lenovo. The vendor has focused on building out a deep portfolio and saw a strong quarter in notebooks across all regions.

Lenovo held the second position with relative modest growth of 1.7% globally. Lenovo had first-ever decline in the U.S., down 4.2% year over year (its first decline since 2009).

Dell captured the third position, grew 6.2% year over year, and continued its positive growth in every region with strong notebook volume. Dell posted growth in all markets, although the U.S. slowed relative to others.

Apple kept the fourth position and grew 4.1% year over year.

Acer regained the fifth position, growing 2.9% in part due to better comparisons against a challenging 1Q16.

Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide Traditional PC Shipments, First Quarter 2017 (Preliminary) (Shipments are in thousands of units)

1Q17 Shipments

1Q17 Market Share

1Q16 Shipments

1Q16 Market Share

1Q17/1Q16 Growth

1. HP Inc 13,143 21.8% 11,621 19.4% 13.1%
2. Lenovo 12,322 20.4% 12,121 20.2% 1.7%
3. Dell 9,573 15.9% 9,017 15.0% 6.2%
4. Apple 4,201 7.0% 4,036 6.7% 4.1%
5. Acer Group 4,121 6.8% 4,006 6.7% 2.9%
Others 16,967 28.1% 19,140 31.9% -11.4%
Total 60,328 100.0% 59,942 100.0% 0.6%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, April 11, 2017

Table Notes:

In addition to the table above, an interactive graphic showing worldwide PCD market share for the top 5 vendors over the previous five quarters is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker gathers detailed market data in over 90 countries. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis among other data.

For more information, or to subscribe to the research, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or

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