Apple’s notebooks had an exceedingly difficult first quarter, according to new data from research firm TrendForce.
Apple (AAPL) shipped approximately 2.5 million MacBooks, MacBook Airs, and MacBook Pros worldwide during the first quarter, a whopping 40.4% decline compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, TrendForce reported on Tuesday. The company added that Apple’s notebook business slipped to the sixth-largest in the world, down from its fifth-place finish in the fourth quarter. Apple owned just 7.1% of the market, down 9.7% at the end of 2015.
The findings are just the latest bit of bad news for Apple, which reported a somewhat disappointing end to its second fiscal quarter last month. While the company still generated billions of dollars in profits, its iPhone business was down for the first time in its history. Meanwhile, Apple’s iPad business continued its decline. Overall, Apple’s quarterly revenue of $50.6 billion was down 13% year-over-year.
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The TrendForce findings might not be all that surprising given Apple’s own acknowledgement that total Mac unit sales, which also include the company’s desktops, were down 12% year-over-year. Apple’s Mac revenue at $5.1 billion was off 9% over the last year.
So, what might have happened to Apple’s notebook business? According to TrendForce, it might have little to do with Apple’s appeal and more to do with broader market factors.
“In the first quarter, Apple did not have any new MacBook products ready for the market, nor did it lower MacBook prices to generate sales,” TrendForce said in a statement. “Apple’s [Windows-Intel]-based competitors, on the other hand, benefited from Windows 10 and the steady supply of Intel’s (INTC) Skylake CPUs. They were able to have numerous new products ready to promote and ship. As a result, MacBook shipments suffered a massive quarterly decline.”
That said, TrendForce is only evaluating a slice of the market and not the broader PC market.
Last month, IDC evaluated the full computer market, including notebooks and desktops, and found that Apple’s Mac business performed better than most competitors, which saw collective shipments fall 11.5% in the first quarter. In addition, the company increased its overall market share to 7.4% in the first quarter to pass Asus and become the fourth-largest computer maker in the world.
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So, while Apple’s notebook sales might not have been so great in the first quarter, the company’s broader PC business is still making strides as it competes against the likes of Lenovo and Dell.
Speaking of those companies, they didn’t have such a great time in the notebook market, either. Lenovo’s notebook shipments were down 10% quarter-over-quarter, HP’s shipments fell 21.2%, and Dell was off 15%, according to TrendForce. No company, however, had as rough a first quarter than Apple. Regardless, it’s worth noting that TrendForce is comparing the first quarter to the fourth quarter, which includes the busy holiday shopping season. Therefore, quarter-over-quarter shipment declines are to be expected.
One other tidbit from the TrendForce findings: Samsung was the only company to actually have a better first quarter than end to 2015, with shipments jumping 43% quarter-over-quarter. However, its market share stands at just 2.2%.