Apple market share

Discussion in 'Apple' started by David Steuber, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. Is there a definitive source on what Apple's actual market share is
    in both installed user base and sales for the past five quarters? I
    keep hearing conflicting reports such as Apple having less than 3% of
    the installed base of home computers but selling more laptops
    recently than any other single vendor.

    Apple also claims to be the largest Unix vendor now.

    Is the truth out there?
    David Steuber, Nov 17, 2003
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  2. This particular truth is highly open to interpretation and often
    confused by misuse of terminology. "Market share in the installed user
    base" is, for example, essentially nonsensical. Apple having less than
    3% of the installed base of home computers is flat false, derived from
    misunderstanding the term market share.

    Market share is those portion of sales in a given category over a given
    time period (usually a calendar quarter) that are attributable to a
    single vendor. In a vacuum it's essentially meaningless to anyone that
    doesn't have a direct financial interest in the company in question.

    The 3%-or-less that you've been hearing recently is Apple's market
    share. What portion of machines sold in a quarter were theirs.

    Their representation in the installed base, last time I saw anyone try
    to determine it, was alleged to be somewhere in the range of 12-15%. I
    can't remember where I saw that, but it was within the last year and was
    derived from independent estimates of the number of machines in use from
    various vendors. Those estimates most likely come from a combination of
    some known past user base and extrapolation of market share and
    measurable attrition rates.

    Gregory Weston, Nov 17, 2003
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  3. Hi ya;

    You can also work it out Programtically too - using Apple's SEC Filing
    for each quarter and summing up the total number of Macs sold and then
    comparing those numbers to what the total PC sales were (which i'm sure
    you can get from visiting Dells site - since they are the dominant PC

    Here are the SEC filings from Apple since 1999 for the total and
    quarterly numbers and show a total of 16.4 million Macs sold.

    FY-99 = 3,450,650

    FY-00 = 4,558,000

    FY-01 = 3,087,000

    FY-02 = 3,101,000

    FY-03 = 2,241,000


    Milton Aupperle
    Milton Aupperle, Nov 17, 2003
  4. International Data Corp. provides those figures, but it'll
    cost ya $4500 to get them to give you a complete report
    on their methods and sources. In the meantime, they're
    stuck in the range of 2.5 - 2.7% for q. ending June03,
    but it's rising. Apple is hoping it will hit 4.5% by 2005.
    George Williams, Nov 17, 2003
  5. But you miss a critical component: attrition rate. If you know how many
    Macs have been sold in every quarter since 1Q84, you know how many Macs
    have been sold period. But you don't know how many have ceased to
    operate and/or been landfilled so you don't know how large the installed
    base actually is. You also don't know that for other platforms, which is
    why market share in a vacuum isn't especially useful. If you've got 30x
    the market share and 35x the attrition, you're losing ground even though
    the sales figures look impressive. (And no, I'm not claiming that other
    vendors have that high an attrition rate. I'm just illustrating a point.)

    Gregory Weston, Nov 18, 2003
  6. --------Snipped
    No I didn't miss the point. I offered some hard numbers on how many
    Macs Apple has been selling over the past 4 years and a suggestion on
    where to get more information.

    As to attrition - that depends on a lot of variables and there is
    basically no way of knowing this accurately as you pointed out and I
    thought should be an "a priori" conclusion.

    So do we all wave are arms around in the air over all the intaginables
    or do we look at a "real" numbers to see if Apple is growing or
    shrinking it's market share?

    And if your only looking at OS X compatible Macs, you know EXACTLY the
    maximum number of Macs are capable of running OS X software out of the
    box. With Panther that number is 21 million Macs world wide that can
    run it out of the box.


    Milton Aupperle, Nov 18, 2003
  7. I've wondered whether those "market share" comparisons make any
    qualifications on the overall pool of computers comprising the "market".

    For example, website content creators will cite the Mac's 3% market
    share as their reason for not supporting this platform. But some people
    point out that many of the Wintel PC's in that other 97% are installed
    as point-of-sale terminals (glorifed cash registers), database
    frontends, and other dedicated devices not used for web surfing. If
    true, Macs would represent more (maybe much more) than 3% of the
    computers used for surfing. Presumably, the site admins can look at
    their logs to get a better figure for that ratio.
    Julian Vrieslander, Nov 18, 2003
  8. Unfortunately, it's false. Ask any big server admin
    running general interest sites not dedicated to Mac OS or OS X.
    His/her server logs will invariably show 3% (or less) clients
    that can be identified (by their browsers or other data) as using
    Macs. I watched it shrink myself from about 7% in
    97 to 2-3% in early 2003. It can only be explained as attrition.
    George Williams, Nov 18, 2003
  9. David Steuber

    James Jaeger Guest

    How about Mac users who their user agent to a Windows Internet Express
    so that they can view sites programmed to deny access to Mac browsers?
    Might they account for a few more Macs on the net?

    James Jaeger, Nov 18, 2003
  10. I didn't say you missed the point. I said you missed a component.
    Determining the change in Apple's market share is fairly easy. But
    again, what does it mean to anyone who isn't employed by or investing in
    Apple without also knowing about some baseline installation and the
    attrition rate.
    Right. Out of the box. And no clue as to how many of those machines are
    still in service and how many unsupported-with-X machines have
    nonetheless been made to boot X.
    Gregory Weston, Nov 18, 2003
  11. Or greater growth on the part of other platforms.
    Gregory Weston, Nov 18, 2003
  12. David Steuber

    D.F. Manno Guest

    Isn't there another problem with market share numbers: that it measures
    _machines_ sold?

    For example, XYZ Corp. buys 1,000 Acme widgets, while 1,000 people each
    buy one Amalgamated widget. Acme and Amalgamated both have the same
    market share, but the latter has a larger customer base.

    If you subtract bulk purchases, how does Apple fare?
    D.F. Manno, Nov 18, 2003
  13. David Steuber

    Philo D Guest

    At one time I read that the largest seller of CPUs in the world is GM.
    Do they count?
    Philo D, Nov 18, 2003
  14. David Steuber

    Davoud Guest

    Julian Vrieslander:

    Logs for my sites -- none of them Mac-oriented -- show that eight
    percent of visitors use Macs.

    Davoud, Nov 18, 2003
  15. David Steuber

    Davoud Guest

    Philo D:
    When GM owned Hughes Electronics GM was one of the largest -- if not
    _the_ largest -- distributors of pornography in the world. Does that
    count? I don't know who has the distinction now.

    Davoud, Nov 18, 2003
  16. David Steuber

    Ken Prager Guest

    When GM owned Hughes Electronics GM was one of the largest -- if not
    _the_ largest -- distributors of pornography in the world. Does that
    count? I don't know who has the distinction now.[/QUOTE]

    Why, because of the satellite distribution infrastructure?

    Ken P.
    (former Hughes Electronics employee)
    Ken Prager, Nov 18, 2003
  17. David Steuber

    Davoud Guest

    Ken Prager:
    Yep. A Google search for gm hughes pornography will tell the story.
    Please note that my post was an observation, not a moral judgement. I
    try not to make moral judgements -- "...lest ye be judged..." and all
    that, you know.

    Davoud, Nov 18, 2003
  18. My logs show about 5% mac users.
    Jonathan Brady, Nov 18, 2003
  19. David Steuber

    Ken Prager Guest

    Ken Prager:
    Yep. A Google search for gm hughes pornography will tell the story.
    Please note that my post was an observation, not a moral judgement. I
    try not to make moral judgements -- "...lest ye be judged..." and all
    that, you know.[/QUOTE]

    The search turned up a bunch of press releases from "Families for this"
    and "Families for that" but no hard facts or proof that DirecTV is the
    largest distributor of anything.

    Not that I care.

    I also think it's funny how Rupert Murdoch, a huge proponent of
    conservative and Christian values never lets that get in the way of
    making a buck or two.

    Ken Prager, Nov 18, 2003
  20. David Steuber

    GDB Guest

    .. . . this would certainly account for some (enter your own figure
    here), but I'd not expect it to make significant impact on the overall
    numbers. And except perhaps for those from the larger ISP routers,
    server logs do not produce a wide enough range of data to make any
    meaningful conclusions about Apple's market share. Web server logs are
    only useful to determine who your current audience is, and not who's out
    there. Comparing a range of Web server logs from different companies
    obviously helps though.

    The real question here though is why does the OP want to know? What
    decisions might be made on such knowledge? There are Web developers out
    there for instance who think that a Mac base of 4% of overall traffic
    (as measured by Web server logs) is not worth testing for. Yet other
    studies have shown that this small percentage of users can actually
    amount to as much as 30% of a Web site's revenue stream.

    Remember there's three kinds of lies . . .

    GDB, Nov 18, 2003
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