How many Macs did Apple sell last quarter?

According to IDC, Mac shipments grew 8.9% last quarter while the rest of the industry shrank -1.7%, catapulting Apple into IDC’s ranks of the world’s top five PC vendors for the first time.

That gives us, also for the first time, a chance to compare the research group’s estimate of Macs shipped — 4.982 million — with the estimates of our panel of Apple analysts.

We’ve heard from 33 of them so far — 21 pros and 12 amateurs — and they are, on average, slightly less bullish than IDC.

Their estimates range from a low of 4.2 million (from Societe Generale’s Andy Perkins) to 5.5 million (from BMO’s Keith Bachman). The average estimate, 4.85 million, represents 5.9% growth.

That would mean that the Mac outgrew the rest of the PC industry for 33 of the last 34 quarters.

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Not everybody agrees. Two of our analysts — BTIG’s Walter Piecyk and Societe Generale’s Perkins — have Mac sales shrinking faster than the industry.

We’ll find out who was closest to the mark tomorrow when Apple reports its fiscal Q4 2014 earning and publishes its quarterly Mac sales number.

Below: The individual analyst’s estimates — pros in blue, indies in green. Thanks as always to Posts at Eventide‘s Robert Paul Leitao for pulling together the Braeburn Group numbers.

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Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.

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