Will Apple Silicon increase the market share of the Mac?

Update

The discussion below is based on the assumption that the premium PC market is already dominated by Macs. Therefore, as long as Apple sells predominantly in this segment, there is not much additional market share to win. Although I have not seen any recent data, in 2009, NPD reported that 91% of US retail sales for PCs over $1,000 went to Macs. The number may not be accurate for 2020, but I am confident that the overall picture remains the same. 


I would have thought that this was a very easy question to answer. Unfortunately, some people seem to miss it.

Let’s be clear.

The PowerPC G3 Macs were advertised as being twice as fast as Pentiums. Many ads were made and many demos were performed to suggest that Macs were vastly faster than PCs. Mac market share hardly budged.

Apple iPhones with Apple silicon have constantly been faster than competing Android phones. This hasn’t propelled them further than 20% market share of the whole market.

Performance, either the ability to crunch numbers or the length of time you can run on a single battery charge, has seldom, if ever, been the factor driving market share. Instead, pricing, distribution channels, compatibility, network effects and other less sexy but conventional market forces tend to determine this.

Sure, some high-end laptop customers may decide to switch, but we also know that the premium market is very small in terms of market share. Although I do not have enough numbers to make an informed estimate, I guess that that we will only see a gain of a few percentage points at most. Although this will be enough to significantly increase Apple’s Mac revenues, Windows market share will remain dominant.

The only way that this might change is if Apple uses their silicon to drive down prices and sell laptops in the $600 price range. This is not unthinkable but it will require a big change in strategy, and we have no idea whether Apple will choose to do this or not.

Update

Changed the price range in the final paragraph from $400-$600 to just $600 to be in line with the average selling price of laptops in the US in 2020.

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