January 9, 2014 Last Updated 5:33 pm

Gartner and IDC reports seriously disagree about Apple’s Q4 sales

IDC has Apple falling to fourth place among PC makers, while Gartner says Apple had a blow out holiday sales season for Macs

So did Apple have a great final quarter of 2013 for Mac sales, or did it fall from third to fourth place among PC makers? We may not have a good idea until Apple releases its quarterly earnings later this month.

Gartner says Apple shipped 2.168 million units in Q4 (Apple’s Q1 2014), maintaining its number three position and putting its market share at 13.7 percent – up from its 9.9 percent market share in the same quarter of 2012. According to Gartner, HP had an awful Q4, while both Dell and Apple did well.

IDC, though, is claiming that Apple’s market share tanked in Q4, dropping to 9.3 percent, putting it behind Lenovo. IDC also sees HP having a bad Q4 and Dell a good one – so at least the two reports are in agreement there.

Overall, IDC says PC shipments were down 1.6 percent, and down 5.6 percent for the full year.

“The PC market again came in very close to expectations, but unfortunately failed to significantly change the trajectory of growth,” Loren Loverde, VeP, Worldwide PC Trackers said. “Total shipments have now declined for seven consecutive quarters, and even the holiday shopping season was unable to inspire a turn in consumer spending. Although U.S. growth slipped a little in the fourth quarter, other regions all improved, reinforcing our view that growth rates will continue to improve gradually during 2014 despite remaining in negative territory.”

Gartner sees PC shipments down even more in the fourth quarter – 6.9 percent. But they see light at the end of the tunnel.

“Although PC shipments continued to decline in the worldwide market in the fourth quarter, we increasingly believe markets, such as the U.S., have bottomed out as the adjustment to the installed base slows,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Strong growth in tablets continued to negatively impact PC growth in emerging markets. In emerging markets, the first connected device for consumers is most likely a smartphone, and their first computing device is a tablet. As a result, the adoption of PCs in emerging markets will be slower as consumers skip PCs for tablets.”

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