MacBooks are turning the tide for laptops

by Pelican Press
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MacBooks are turning the tide for laptops

The M3 MacBook Air in front of a window.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

According to numbers from IDC (International Data Corporation), the PC market has achieved its second quarter of growth after breaking out of an almost two-year-long slump — and Apple is leading the pack with a whopping 20% increase in sales compared to last year.

These numbers are focused on “traditional PCs,” which includes desktops, laptops, and workstations — but not tablets. For Apple, the main money-maker in this category is the MacBook, and the increase must be happy news since sales in 2023 were down 30% compared to 2022. This was largely due to the end of the pandemic and the extra work from home sales it brought, but there was also limited interest in the M2 chip because so many people had already upgraded to Apple silicon with the M1 chip.

Table showing PC sales growth in Q2 2024.

More recently, it seems the M2 to M3 transition is going much more smoothly. Compared to Lenovo’s 3.7%, HP’s 1.8%, or even Acer’s 13.7%, Apple’s 20% sales increase is through the roof. But why? IDC speculates that overall market health has been bolstered by AI hype and a shiny new commercial refresh cycle, and while Apple’s own AI products have only just been announced and are yet to be released, it doesn’t mean the hype hasn’t affected them.

For one thing, all of the Apple Silicon MacBooks will be able to use Apple Intelligence, so anyone eager to give it a go might have upgraded or switched to Apple silicon after the WWDC keynote on June 10.

There must also be plenty of people who were prompted to buy a new laptop by all the AI buzz, but after shopping around, ultimately went for a MacBook. And since the Copilot+ PCs only released toward the end of Q2, anyone looking for a laptop with good battery life in April or May would have been likely to choose Apple.

There might also have been a bunch of M1 owners who felt ready for an upgrade — though their MacBooks can technically last far longer than three and a half years. Before I upgraded to my M2 MacBook Air, I was using a 2013 Air model that was about ready to celebrate its 10th birthday. That trend has only expanded recently, as reported by Bloomberg.

With MacBook sales back on the rise and Copilot+ PC sales off to a good start, it will be interesting to see how the numbers turn out for Q3 at the end of September.

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