Mac Growth Starting to Diminish as "Switcher" Motivation Declines
According to one analyst, the Mac could become a victim of Apple’s own success along with the popularity of the iPhone and iPad, as reasons for stagnation in Mac sales growth. Mac shipments are still declining more slowly than the overall PC market but still declining nonetheless. Analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham & Co. believes this may be attributable to the Mac’s “wow factor” gradually fading.
As a result, the Mac lineup may no longer be attracting many new “switcher” customers from Microsoft’s Windows platform according to Wolf in his latest “Digital Lifestyle” report. Overall shipments of PCs shrank 11.3% in the second quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the popularity of Apple’s iPad has helped turn Apple into the world’s largest PC manufacturer when iPads are included. Macs have shrunk to just 20% of Apple’s total PC shipments, when including the iPad that is.
Wolf pointed out that Mac sales have been outgrowing PC sales since around 2005, when Apple’s iPod ruled the MP3 player market. The “halo effect” from the iPod, and later, the iPhone and iPad, got consumers interested in Apple’s other products and buyers of the iPod and iPhone sometimes went on to become buyers of the mac.
Currently, Wolf estimated that more than 40 million Windows users have switched to the Mac since 2005, a figure twice the size of the Mac installed base at the beginning of that period. Surveys conducted by Needham & Co. found that about 15% of iPhone or iPad owning Windows users actually go on to purchase a Mac, while 20% would consider switching. The effect may have been greater in the past when the quality gap between the Windows experience and the Mac OS experience was greater. PC designs have become “satisfactory for the jobs to be done,” and the PC market is struggling as a result.
At the same time, Apple’s hardware and software advantages on the Mac platform may not quite appear as overwhelming as they did years ago. Wolf suggests that could lead some potential switchers to either stick with their current devices or to simply upgrade within the Windows ecosystem. The report points to “both the ultimate desktop and notebook computers” Apple’s iMac and MacBook Air, as the products that deliver the “wow factor.” In the time since those devices’ introductions though, Apple has been gradually improving their functionality and honing their designs but little has been done in terms of larger upgrades.
It should still be noted that Apple continues to generate the lion’s share of profit in the PC market. Apple’s Mac lineup generates more profits than the top five PC makers in the world combined according to a recent analysis .The company also continues to dominate in a number of segments, with its MacBook Air lineup taking 56% of its market section and the iMac continuing to set the pace for all-in-one desktop PC design.
Source: Needham & Co.