Analyst: iPad 'cannibalizing' PC sales; nudging business Mac market

Analyst: iPad 'cannibalizing' PC sales; nudging business Mac market

Summary: While the iPad is chomping away at U.S. K-12 markets, Macs are edging their way into the business market, likely as a result of the post-PC push by Apple's counterpart iPhone and iPad devices.

TOPICS: Apple, PCs, Tech Industry

New data suggests Apple's iPad is taking on the traditional PC by storm in the education market, as iPads are bridging the gap between PCs and Macs.

Needham analyst Charlie Wolf said in a research note (via AllThingsD) that Apple is chomping away at the education market, as PC sales declined year-on-year by more than a quarter-million in favor of more than a half-million increase in iPads in the K-12 market. 

Wolf wrote in his note that "a significant portion of iPad sales represented an expansion of the market." 

"But in view of the fact that Mac sales held steady at around 520,000 units but overall PC sales declined by 265,000 units from 1.90 million to 1.64 million units, we believe the inescapable conclusion is that the iPad is beginning to cannibalize a material portion of PC sales in this market."

The education market may only be the beginning of wider changes in the Mac vs. PC divide. The business market for Macs is looking healthy -- despite the difference in Mac vs. PC growth falling on previous quarters -- even if enterprise and business users pay a premium on Macs compared to cheaper Windows-based PCs.

Screen Shot 2012-09-05 at 08.54.34
Mac's growth vs. the PC market growth (June 2012). Source: Gartner

(Yes, the figures quoted are from Gartner, for which we should all heed the warnings: gather around ZDNet's Ed Bott (now with 25 percent more beard!) for he has a tale of woe to tell.)

During the June quarter, U.S. Mac business shipments grew by more than 56 percent while PC sales dipped by close to 9 percent, compared to a 22 percent rise and a 4 percent decline respectively on the global scale. It goes almost without saying; we're in a new Windows version year which traditionally brings the number of PC sales down as many wait for the release of the next-generation operating system.

Screen Shot 2012-09-05 at 08.51.26
Mac's unit share of the U.S. business market. Source: Gartner

Since 2008, where "something did happen" to propel Macs into the business market, Wolf believes the post-PC range of iOS-powered devices had a part to play. "The Mac will continue to grow faster than the PC market" thanks to the post-PC push by the iPhone and iPad duopoly.

Wolf said: "The next market the iPad is likely to impact is the much larger U.S. home market." It makes sense: target and invest in the not strictly the education market, but who makes up the demographics in the market, because it all-but-guarantees a more likely customer for Apple over the long term.

Topics: Apple, PCs, Tech Industry

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  • But the Macs

    So, if the Mac is edging into the business market, how the hell does it signal a post-PC era?
    • There is no post PC Era

      The media doesn't even support the idea 100% but ZDNet pushes both that and the BYOD movement as though they are genuine and booming!
      • "Post PC" doesn't mean that PCs are going to be extinct...

        ... It means that PCs are in decline. Sales numbers have been steadily decreasing, which is a historically new trend.

        Consumers, education, and business have been buying iPads to replace (either fully or partially) low-end PCs and laptops.

        The iPad market is growing many times faster than the PC market ever did in its heyday.

        All of these facts combined are evidence of the "post-PC" movement.

        PCs are not going to disappear, but the numbers are shrinking... just as the numbers of room-sized computers shrank when the PC era began.

        It's also easy to understand why people who buy iPads would be more inclined to buy Macs, due to the common ecosystems and similar interfaces.
        Harvey Lubin
        • iPad vs PC's growth

          "The iPad market is growing many times faster than the PC market ever did in its heyday."

          I haven't seen any numbers supporting what you mentioned. Can you post any link with details?
    • There is no "post–PC era"

      Only you mentioned "post–PC era". The article says "post–PC push", which is a bit vague but I take it to mean the device you get once you have a PC (where PC is persona computer and not necessarily a Windows box).
      Fred Fredrickson
  • Why pay the cost premium for Macs in the enterprise markets?

    What factors could possibly fuel the growth of Macs in those markets when the Windows centric ecosystem has highly favorable cost factors plus extensive network familiarity (translate that into network support) due to a 90 plus percent global market dominance?

    On the face of it, Zack's bewilderment over this enterprise Mac acceptance trend - although Zack does state his caveat over Gartner figures but not Needhams, curiously enough - is understandable.

    IMO, the reason why that old business adage summed up by the phrase "cost rules" is being eclipsed or cast astride by these findings points to one inescapable conclusion. Macs allow employees to be more productive in the enterprise markets.

    There are tons of anecdotal evidence to support that observation. From the recent photos inside JPL showing Curiosity's engineers and scientists working with Macs running OS X rather than Windows based PCs to Zack's recent "Road Warrior" blog detailing his preference for an MBA.

    So, what factors contribute to that conclusion? (And, let's be honest here. Numbers don't lie in business. There is a substantial increase in Apple desktop and mobile computers in enterprise markets.)

    I don't believe the main reason for Apple's enterprise market penetration gains are a result of their hardware enjoying a high quality reputation based upon real world results. Because, to be fair, in business, EVERYTHING is leased. So the hardware reliability factor can be discounted or diminished.

    ZDNet bloggers, except Ken Hess, discount the BYOD influence as the main reason for Apple's increased product adoption rate.

    I can discount app ecosystem advantages (one way or another) as a prime factor. EVERYONE uses Microsoft Office. Sorry, Google.

    What is left is an opinion that is "controversial" - at best. The synergy between OS X and it's Mac hardware enhances employee productivity more so than the synergy between Windows and it's hardware base.
    • Mac vs Windows productivity

      "Macs allow employees to be more productive in the enterprise markets."

      How do you get to that conclusion? For example, if I give an employee a Windows PC with MS Office and and another user a Mac with MS Office, why is the Mac user going to be more productive?

      "The synergy between OS X and it's Mac hardware enhances employee productivity more so than the synergy between Windows and it's hardware base."

      Can you give specifics example on how a Mac hardware + OS X makes a user more productive than a Windows user?
      • New Schools

        Covered the launch of 15 new state of the art schools last week in the Province. All were BYOD ready and almost all had extensive Mac labs and Macs in the libraries.
    • It's also about design

      I think there is also a lot to be said for the simple, uncluttered all–in–one design of the iMac. Windows PC still have cords everywhere and all–in–one PCs seem really clunky, even the ones that seem to be trying to copy the iMac.
      Fred Fredrickson
  • misleading numbers

    Comparing percentages is nice way of hiding just how bad Mac is doing. Sure..Mac grew by 55%...which has translated to merely 2% growth in PC market share. Despite all the hype, marketing and insane popularity of iPads, iPods and iPhones it gained 2% in four years. 2% in four years! And that's in USA only. Worldwide the market share is even smaller and the growth is almost non-existent.
    Adrian Werner
    • I think you replied to the wrong article

      "During the June quarter, U.S. Mac business shipments grew by more than 56 percent while PC sales dipped by close to 9 percent, compared to a 22 percent rise and a 4 percent decline respectively on the global scale."

      So Mac sales grew in the US and globally, against a backdrop of falling PC sales. And remember that PC sales are spread across a number of manufacturers, Apple rates about 5th in unit sales by OEM. And if you include tablets as PCs, Apple is #1 it total units shipped.
      Fred Fredrickson
  • Well, Once you go Mac never go back
  • It's not about synergy that is giving business Macs a boost

    Apple doesn't buy product placement. Yet the vast majority is TV/movies now use Macs. They're 'cool'. That's a big indicator of the Mac encroachment into the entertainment industry. And and people - business executives down to entry-level employees watch to a large degree that entertainment. They can skip the commercials...but not the story.
    • Barter deals

      Maybe Apple don't pay for product placement, but it looks like studios have some other kind of "payment".
  • The Case of the Lost Mind.

    Comment to the writer:
    Adolescent thinking seems to follow the the concept of fantasy before reality.
    People who really need a complete PC are not buying iPads.
  • The first chart is unreaable

    If the authro and/or ZD's art director, are responsible for the incomprehsible first graph in this article - or not, for that matter - then they, like everyone who either generates or has to "read" visual displays of information, need to aborb every precept in Edwart Tufte's "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information." In particular for the above wretched grapic, attention should be paid to the passage where Professor Tufte cites human beings' innate inability to judge the realtive size of 3D objects. While i am at it, this applies even more to the "default" 3D-ized pie chart's wrought by Excel and PowerPoint. "Tilting" a pie chart distorts the relative sizes of the "slices," which pretty much negates the purpose of presenting a pie chart in the first place, doesn't it (when you think about it)? "If your graphics are uninteresting, don't jazz them up. Get better data." -- Edward Tufte