Looks like a bit of a row may be building in the analyst sector, as Gartner (News - Alert) earlier today released a study that contradicted the results of a similar one released by IDC just Thursday of last week. According to the results of Gartner's research, Mac shipments in the United States went up 5 percent in the holiday quarter, compared to the holiday quarter of the same time last year.
More specifically, Gartner's research suggested that Apple (News - Alert) shipments in the United States were up fully 5.4 percent, despite a 2.1-percent drop in the overall PC market as a whole. The early research suggests Apple shipped over 2.1 million Mac devices for the quarter, which is up just slightly – from two million even, roughly – from the same time the previous year.
This puts Mac's market share to 12.3 percent for 2012 – up from 11.4 percent last year.
The earlier-released IDC (News - Alert) reports, meanwhile, said Mac shipments had dropped 0.2 percent over the previous year, as they had sold just two million Macs for an 11.4-percent share of the market.
The official numbers from Apple proper, meanwhile, will be released next week, which will also provide first quarter earnings for the 2013 fiscal year. Early word suggests this won't be a big quarter, owing primarily to the short supply of the new all-in-one Mac, which is still in short supply to this day.
Despite the largely unexplained divergence between IDC's estimates and Gartner's, the two can agree that, by and large, Apple is doing better than the PC market is overall, as both saw downward trends emerging.
The extent of those trends, however, varies, as Gartner calls holiday PC shipments down 2.1 percent year-to-year, while IDC calls it down 4.5 percent.
The big cause of the drop in sales – though just how deep a drop varies – appears to be common to both companies' projections: the rise of tablets. With tablets emerging, PC owners are putting off replacement purchases of their desktops and are instead putting that money into a new tablet.
Gartner calls it a move to "shift consumption activity to a personal tablet and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC."
This is a move that makes sense. For the most part, PCs change quite a bit in a relatively short span of time – today's top-of-the-line is a bargain basement model about three years or so out – but the software that runs on them doesn't change all that much. Indeed, those who focus on word processing and the like may well be able to get by with a five year old computer, or even older still, as most any computer from the recent past can handle the rudiments of the Internet and basic office tasks.
With many still looking to get even their first tablet, there's likely a bit of "the new PC can wait" thinking going on, as people look toward tablets for their media and gaming and the like.
Computers – whether they’re for office use, personal use or a combination of the two – are a rapidly changing landscape, a change that's seen in both the numbers produced by Gartner and those from IDC. Whether or not this trend will continue into 2013 and beyond remains to be seen, but there's likely to be more changes to come in the near future.
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Edited by Braden Becker