Apple sold a load more Macs in 2020 as its break from Intel paid off

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)
(Image credit: Future)

Apple sold a whole load of Macs throughout 2020, according to new figures from an analyst firm – and Tim Cook’s company was likely helped by the launch of new PCs powered by Apple’s own M1 chip (which has been very well-received).

Canalys has just produced its overview of the global PC market for Q4 2020, which summarizes the entire year as well, and shows that Apple shifted 22.6 million PCs over the course of last year – a very healthy increase of 16.6% compared to 2019.

Interestingly, Apple’s Q4 shipments were up by a massive 45% year-on-year, and with the new M1-toting Macs launching in the middle of the final quarter of 2020, this would seem to indicate that these machines were a big help in propelling sales.

The overall PC market was very buoyant, finding itself up 11% – hitting 297 million units in total – with the industry scoring its best result in terms of growth since 2010, no less.

These gains have mainly been driven by notebooks and mobile workstations which witnessed increases of 44% compared to 2019, with more folks buying these as they work from home (or students engage in distance learning) due to the pandemic. Desktop PCs, on the other hand, fell by 20%.

Apple’s 22.6 million sales saw the company in fourth place in the ranking of PC vendors, just edging out Acer which sold 20 million units (although if we were to look at profits, and not just quantity, it would doubtless not be a close race between these two manufacturers – the premium on MacBooks is hefty, as we know).

Lenovo was top dog with 72.6 million units shifted, followed closely by HP on 67.5 million, and Dell was in third place on 50.2 million. Those PC makers witnessed increases of 11.9%, 7.1% and 8.2% respectively for 2020 compared to the previous year, so didn’t gain quite as much ground as Apple on 16.6%.

Healthy outlook

So, Tim Cook is no doubt pleased with the Canalys figures, and of course Apple will likely expect sales to be driven by new MacBooks using its own custom silicon this year (which are expected to deliver further innovations such as a Mini-LED screen).

Switching away from Intel (over a two-year transition period) and using its own chips will also help Apple to increase profits even more (and not suffer at the hands of any supply constraints, either, which was one of the big reasons for moving away from Intel chips in the first place).

Ishan Dutt, an analyst at Canalys, observed: “2021 is shaping up to be an even more exciting year for PCs, with vendors and ecosystem players refusing to rest on their laurels as they compete for the new demand opportunities that have emerged in 2020.

“From Apple and Microsoft’s new custom silicon to the exciting platform updates to Chrome and Windows, the PC industry is moving at breakneck speed to cater to its newfound user base.”

Via MacRumors

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).