New MacBook Pro has the magic touch as Apple fights back against PC slump

Apple’s new MacBook Pro has helped shore up total sales of the company’s Macs, boosting the firm in the face of an overall PC slump which is still very much ongoing.

This is according to figures on PC shipments which have emerged from two major analyst firms, Gartner and IDC; and we’ll start with the latter.

IDC found that while Apple shipped 5.26 million PCs in the final quarter of last year, which was down 0.9% on the previous year (when it achieved 5.31 million), the firm still picked up market share – just – growing 0.1% to 7.5%.

This meant Apple was the fourth-ranked top PC vendor, a sliver ahead of Asus on 7.4%.

The decline of 0.9% in terms of units shipped for the quarter is also considerably less than the dip for the overall year, in which Apple lost 9.8%, dropping 0.3% market share across the course of 2016 compared to 2015.

IDC notes that the new MacBook Pro being launched in Q4 was the reason for the relatively boosted sales which helped ‘stabilize global shipments’.

In total, IDC said global shipments of PCs hit 70.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, which was down 1.5% on the same quarter the previous year, but that represented some level of stabilization for the overall market (across the whole of 2016, 260 million units were shipped, a drop of 5.7% compared to the previous year).

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Gartner’s figures were rosier still for Apple, finding that in Q4 of last year, the company shipped 5.44 million PCs, which actually represented 2.4% growth on last year’s 5.31 million.

Apple also secured a 7.5% market share, which was up a considerable 0.5% year-on-year. This left it effectively level with Asus in fourth place when it came to the ranks of PC vendors.

This was in the face of a bigger overall decline than IDC observed – Gartner said that total shipments for the quarter were 72.6 million, which was down 3.7% year-on-year. For the whole year of 2016, 269.7 million PCs were shipped which was down 6.2% compared to 2015.

So, particularly looking at the Gartner figures, this is a good result for Apple and clearly shows that the new MacBook Pros have gained some traction despite their costly nature, and some of the high-profile complaints levelled against them (from lack of connectivity to the infamous battery woes).

Just after the new MacBook Pros were revealed last autumn, Apple came out and said that these were the fastest selling Pro models in company history when it came to taking early online orders.

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).