Mac purchase intent demonstrates Apple’s brand loyalty

While Apple’s non-iPhone events don’t seem to command the same level of attention as its annual smartphone upgrades, the company remains committed to its computing category. This past fall, Apple held a Mac-focused event to unveil its new chipsets: the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max. The new chips were showcased as part of a new lineup featuring an updated 24-inch iMac ($1,299), 14-inch MacBook Pro ($1,499), and 16-inch MacBook Pro ($2,499).

Upgrades in a laptop or desktop device aren’t necessarily as tangible as they would be in the company’s iPhone, which might have a bigger, better screen or improved camera – which consumers are likely to appreciate instantly. The M3 chips, however, are constructed with a new 3nm process, which Apple says improves the GPU performance of its Macs (up to 1.8 faster graphics performance than the M2 chip).

The chips are reportedly 30% more efficient than the M2 series as well, while also introducing Dynamic Caching (for adaptive bandwidth allocation), Mesh Shading, and Ray Tracing – the latter two being especially important for creative artists or gamers who want the best visual performance.

Apple is hoping that the new M3-powered Macbooks and iMacs can give that segment of its business a lift in the coming quarters. For the fourth quarter of 2023, the company’s Mac revenues were down 34% year-over-year, and for all of 2023, total revenues from the Mac business stood at $29.4 billion, trailing 2022’s total by a little more than $10 billion. To be fair, however, revenues are only down when compared to a couple years fueled by the pandemic, and the $29 billion total is still several billion dollars higher than many of the years prior to the COVID outbreak.

The good news for Apple is that it continues to benefit from incredible brand loyalty. This has been true for the iPhone for years, but with the Mac lineup, the purchase intent data points to existing Mac owners far preferring to purchase new iMacs or Macbooks than general consumers. Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that 18% of existing Mac owners state an interest in purchasing a new Macbook in the next three months compared to only 8% of US consumers. Similarly, 13% of existing owners state an intent to purchase a new iMac compared to just 5% of US consumers. On the other hand, when looking at PC desktops and laptops, the figures are much closer to parity.