Apple's Mac OS Market Share Spikes to 5.21 Percent - Up 35 Percent Year Over Year - Growth Accelerates

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By: switchtoamac at: 4:00 AM on November 1, 2006 | Comments (19)
Apple's Mac operating system market share is up 35 percent year-over-year from October 2005 to October 2006.  Data rounded to the nearest whole percent, actual rise is 34.6 percent.

Please note that this does not mean that Apple's market share is 35 percent.  The number represents percent increase.  Data used in this post has been obtained from Market Share. 

Key Percent Increases

  • Up 52.8 percent since January 2005
  • Up 48.0 percent since April 2005 (Mac OS X Tiger launched April 29, 2005)
  • Up 23.8 percent January to October 2006 - despite Intel transition
  • Up 10.4 percent since September 2006
  • Up 20.3 percent since August 2006

The October 2006 Key Percentages outpaced the growth reported for September 2006 which was as follows:

  • Up 38.4 percent since January 2005
  • Up 34.0 percent since April 2005 (Mac OS X Tiger launched April 29, 2005)
  • Up 12.1 percent January to September 2006
  • Up 9.0 percent since August 2006

Below is an updated view of Apple's Mac OS market share month by month for calender year 2006 up to and including October 2006.  Pay careful attention to the numbers because Market Share splits Mac operating system data into two groups, Mac OS and MacIntel.  MacIntel represents Intel builds of Mac OS X Tiger.  Have a look at the October 2006 data.  Mac OS is reported to have 4.09 percent of the operating system share while MacIntel is reported to have 1.12 percent operating system market share.  When the numbers are combined, we get the following (Internet Explorer users may have difficulty viewing the images.  If so, click 1, 2, 3).  You can click on each image to get a larger view:

2006 Mac OS Market Share
2006 Monthly Change
2005 - 2006 Year Over Year Growth

Mac OS Intel Posts 33.3 Percent Increase In One Month
The data shows that Mac OS X Intel experienced a 33.3 percent increase as it's share rose from 0.84 percent in September 2006 to a 1.12 percent in October. Although this was less than the 35.4 percent increase between September 2006 and August 2006, the growth still outpaces all other non-beta operating system tracked by Net Applications.

Mac OS X Intel

More Than Meets the Eye - Growth Accelerating

A remarkable performance in October as the rise outpaced September's growth.  The data demonstrate that Apple's Macintosh computers are becoming more popular outside of the student vertical as the majority of student likely purchased their systems prior to the start of the   academic year.  Apple's 2006 Back-To-School promotion that gave students up to a $179 rebate good towards the combined purchase of an iPod and qualifying Macintosh computer ended on September 16, 2006. So it's clear that Macintosh sales are expanding in other areas and those areas most likely contributed to the stellar October 2006 performance.

As the total number of Mac users continues to rise each month, the month-to-month growth acceleration is even more astounding because it takes a greater number of new users to contribute to a larger percent increase for each subsequent month.  For example, if there were 100 Mac users in Month 1, a 10 percent increase month-to-month would yield 110 Mac users in Month 2.  To grow by 20 percent in Month 3, we need to add 22 users to the Month 2 total (and not 20 users to the Month 1 total) giving a final count of 132 users at the end of Month 3.  For Mac OS X to grow by 9.0 percent in September 2006 and 10.4 percent in October 2006, the total number of new Mac users must also grow each month as the percent increase is calculated based on the numbers of the prior month.  So it's clear that the Mac user base is growing by leaps and bounds but most importantly, the growth is accelerating.  Just look at the data, the growth has accelerated for the past for months, 0.2% in July, 0.9% in August, 9.0% in September, and 10.4% in October.

We have yet to enter the 2006 hoiday buying season.  I maintain my position that Apple will experience brisk Macintosh sales for the remainder of the year and will continue to grab market share from its competitors.  It will be interesting to see how the data checks in for November and December 2006.

In an April 7, 2006 post, I predicted that Apple would have at least 8 percent market share by the end of the Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) life cycle.  Mac OS X is currently at Tiger, or version 10.4.  Apple's OS market share is well on it's way to that number.

Related Posts


November 1, 2006

  • Corrected an error and content revision
  • Added chart for Mac OS X Intel growth

19 Reader Comments

Great overview. Thanks. Mac OS X is on the rise!

Your bet of 1.64m macs for 4Q seemed a little risky, but you came real close to the 1.61m macs sold.

This time your bet of 8% Apple marketshare by the end of Leopard lifecycle might well fall short. Assuming 6% by Leopard's release early 2007 and a 2-year lifecycle, m.s. could reach 9% in early 2009 by current growth rates.

The expanded range of products could even accelerate current m.s. growthrates. Full-screen iPods, the long awaited iPhone, iTV, plus the release of new Adobe design packages, are for sure going to help.

Good luck getting those Macs into serious business, power user and developers hands! The Mac OS doesn't really cater to any of those groups of people.

The majority of ...

Business users will never use it because they already have a ton of hardware and in-house expertise that's all Windows based.

Power users need an operating system that doesn't try "dumb everything down to a single button" (in more ways than one) like the Mac OS.

Developers will never use it because of the lack of good tools and frameworks. (for instance, have you ever seen a comparison of XCode to Visual Studio? yuck.)

"Developers will never use it because of the lack of good tools and frameworks."

I think you're wrong. I, for one, is a developer, and I just got a MacBook. Recently I've seen many developers switching to Macs.

As for developer tools, the Mac has everything I need (but then I don't develop for Windows).

I am one of the ppl jumping over to Mac. Had enough of crap ms products, vista does nothing for me, and i figured if apple can do such an amazing job on the ipod, then i'm willing to give them a go on a computer. My 24" iMac should be here by this time tomorrow :)

I have tried to find where in the article you have sourced your data from but couldn't find it. Please make it more explicit or otherwise how are we to know whether these are reliable figures?

Ex-Mac user, you're right about business use. You're wrong about the reasons. It has little to do with in-house hardware and expertise. It is that the entire desktop business application world is Windows only and Apple probably will never be able to make significant inroads there.

As far as the OS being dumbed-down and weak for power-users, give me a break. I use XP and OS X every day and I do not see any area where XP offers a superior experience. What, you miss the registry?

As far as the developer world is concerned, I'm sure you're right there. Microsoft has always been focused on developers and Apple should dedicate a higher percentage of its resources to building enterprise-class tools. I think they should work together with the Mono team so that .Net apps could be compiled for OS X. The easier they make it to port apps from Windows, the greater their penetration into the market will be.

Eh~ Mac still sucks.

Ex-Mac User: Eh? More and more power users and developers are using OS X.

"Dumbing everything down" is the negative way of saying "everyday things made easy"; underneath, OS X allows for delightful complexity. You just need to know to bring it up - just like you need to know to plug in a multi-button mouse for your finger twiddling exercises...

Developers (including yours truly) are quite happy using the Eclipse IDE; there's just no validity to your last claim.

Now, if you want a valid reason for "power users" to avoid OS X, it's the tendency toward DRM Apple is showing.

"Business users will never use it because they already have a ton of hardware and in-house expertise that's all Windows based."

And macs can run WIndows now... what happens is that people are starting to bring in Macs from home on the sly. That includes some executives now - and as executives seek greater connectivity they drive mac support if IT is willing or not.

"Power users need an operating system that doesn't try "dumb everything down to a single button" (in more ways than one) like the Mac OS."

As a former Linux user I have to say that statement is pretty ill-informed. Instead what OS X offers is a scalable interface - simple for those that need it but very complex and adjustable underneath. Open up a configuration plist for your favorite application sometime and see how many adjustments you can make.

Furthermore OS X applications are almost always scriptable in the way most Windows applications are not, making for very advancing chaining of applications. And don't forget all your favorite UNIX tools are included in OS X, from Perl to Apache to the bash shell and all the well-known UNIX utilities.

"Developers will never use it because of the lack of good tools and frameworks. (for instance, have you ever seen a comparison of XCode to Visual Studio? yuck.)"

I have used both. Yuck is right, I will not willingly use Visual Studio again!

Also XCode is a lot cheaper than Visual Studio, in that the most powerful version of XCode which includes better profilers is free.

"Developers will never use it because of the lack of good tools and frameworks."

Rubbish - thanks to those wonderful chaps from Parallels a Mac is now THE hardware of choice for development, especially Web development - only on a Mac can you test a web site renders correctly in all major browsers & platforms. Windows & its viruses can stay isolated within a VM and you can enjoy the superior experience & software than comes with OS X - and a MacBook Pro looks so much nicer than a Dell or one of those horrible ThinkPad bricks.

Check out the blogs - a lot of web devs are switching and liking it :)

The marketshare indicated is for the States or worldwide?

Here's what Market Share states about their data:

About Our Market Share Statistics

This data provides valuable insight into significant trends for internet usage. These statistics include monthly information on key statistics such as browser trends (e.g. Internet Explorer vs. Firefox market share), search engine referral data (e.g. Yahoo vs. MSN vs. Google traffic market share) and operating system share.

We use a unique methodology for collecting this data. We collect data from the browsers of site visitors to our exclusive on demand network of small to medium enterprise live stats customers. The sample size for these sites is more than 40,000 urls. The information published is an aggregate of the data from this network of hosted website statistics. The site unique visitor and referral information is summarized on a monthly basis.

In addition, we classify 300+ referral sources identified as a search engine. Aggregate traffic referrals from these engines are summarized and reported monthly. The statistics for search engines include both organic and sponsored referrals. The websites in our population represent dozens of countries in regions including North America, South America, Western Europe, Australia / Pacific Rim and Parts of Asia. Users should note that no double byte search engines are included in the search engine referral population

Apple is making progress. I have personally seen 3 friends buy their first Macs this year.

I am a Computer Analyst/Programmer... I have owned Macs since 1996, but have used them many times before that. While in college, I went against the grain and used a clamshell iBook to do all my programming assignments in Mac OS X. Worked quite nicely and I graduated in 2002.

Now, I am seeing many people I know, including Linux users, want to purchase the new MacBook Pro (Core 2 Duo). This is a wonderful trend, and if it continues, the Macintosh platform is in for some very interesting times.

Personally, I use Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Linux. I am happiest using Mac OS X... :) A new Mac Pro is on my to-purchase-soon list. :D

People, it's not appropriate to take percentages of percentages. The Mac market share went from 4.72 % to 5.21 %, an increase of 0.49 %.

"Math is hard!"

Great news for Apple, indeed!
But what about forgotten countries?
I seems you don’t care about them. We need the Apple attentions guys, we deserve this. Take a look at the comments in our online petition.

We have the support of the Global Mac community, so please do something for Greece. We love Macs but it seems that someone don’t care of this.

The situation in my country is unacceptable.
Thanks you listening my desperate words, sorry about my bad English.

Regards from Athens.

To Anonymous,
People, it's not appropriate to take percentages of percentages. The Mac market share went from 4.72 % to 5.21 %, an increase of 0.49 %.

You are wrong, Anonymous.
Apple indeed GAINED 0.49% market share.
This means that in a 100-part pie a 0.49-part slice was added to apple's 4.72-part previous slice.

However, it is usual to measure GROWTH against your previous size. If you jump from 3% to 6% you have increased your market share in 3% (this is what you gained).

But your growth is 100% because you have duplicated your share of the market, and in fact you are selling twice as much if total market sales remain constant.

Therefore, it is indeed apropriate to say that Apple had a 10.38% market share growth in going from 4.72% to 5.21%, because the increase of 0.49% is compared against 4.72%, the initial market share.

It's good to see the numbers are starting to creep upwards.

It takes a long time for usage numbers to change. Think, it took Windows 2000 2 years to go from 15.8% to 5.8% and they were selling at a rate of 0% during that period.

OSX has, in the same time gone from 3.2% to 5.2% selling at a rate of 4.5% in 2005 and 6.1% in 2006.

I doubt OSX will reach 8% usage anytime soon. An 8% sales rate is highly reasonable though. I wouldn't go any higher though because there's only so many rich American college students willing to shell out an average of $1350 for a Mac, versus the throngs of people who won't spend more than $750 on a PC. There's still some room to grow, but their target audience is limited to high-end consumers for the time being. The high end consumer line is beginning to get saturated with Mac users so Apple will have to start to move into other markets if it wishes to go above 10%. Maybe it's not worth it for them ... look at Dell ... low-end and corporate computers don't make as much money per unit.

Side note:
I use Windows 2000 at work and OSX at home. It's funny to think that in a couple months my work will be considered the weirdos and I'll be using the more mainstream OS!

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