Apple’s US PC Growth is Even Better Than It Seems

Based on reported preliminary figures from Gartner, Apple is set to show incredible PC growth in the US compared to the industry.

I’m not so concerned with the figures themselves so much as my belief that to properly calculate Apple’s growth compared to the industry you must remove their figures from the industry totals and then compare the growth rates side by side. 

For example, in the chart below (from the article) you see total PC growth listed as 4.6 percent. Since Apple’s projected growth is 29.4 percent, they are claimed to be growing at “more than six times the industry.”

But such a comparison not only hamstrings Apple, it favors the PC (i.e., non-Mac) makers by making it look like they’re doing better than they really are. How? Well, it compares Apple to a total that already has Apple in it! You’re essentially comparing Apple to itself. If you want to see how Apple is doing compared to everyone else than you must compare Apple’s figures alone to everyone else’s minus Apple’s. 

So, how is Apple really growing in the US? To see, let’s remove its figures from the total and then compare the two growths.

Without Apple, 3Q ’08 shipments total 15,705, and 3Q ’07 total 15,312. The growth of 393 represents ~2.6%. That’s a true representation of what non-Mac vendors did on their own. In other words, what they did without Apple. Now, when you look at Apple’s growth you can place it in proper perspective. Apple’s 29.4% represents growing at over 11 times the non-Mac industry in the US! Big difference, and a much better representation of what’s really going on in the US today. 

If you’re going to compare Apple to the rest of the industry, don’t inflate that industry’s figures by including Apple in the total. Even Apple has a hard time competing against itself.