Congratulations Gateway and HP

1998: For years the loyalty of Mac users was the envy of the PC industry. Report after report showed that when Mac owners bought another computer, it was almost always an Apple Macintosh.

But things changed.

According to the latest customer loyalty study, both Gateway and Hewlett Packard surpassed Apple in customer loyalty in 1987.

Rather than bemoan the fact, I offer my hearty congratulations to both companies for doing something neither Compaq nor IBM has. Gaining name brand recognition and customer loyalty in the clone-eat-clone Wintel world is no easy thing.

Brand defection is a way of life for PC makers.

However, in 1997 Apple wasn’t the only brand selling computers with the Mac OS. Remember the rumors that Mac clones had 30% of the Mac market? How much would you bet that most “Apple defectors” bought Mac clones rather than Wintel machines?

That 30% of the Mac OS market was most likely to come from Mac users (probably most of them also Mac owners) than from any other platform.

And remember that the survey only counted purchasers who owned a computer and bought a new one. No first-time buyers. Nobody who didn’t buy a new computer in 1997. Just old timers upgrading.

I would expect the next survey to also show Apple below #1 in owner loyalty – not because we’re disloyal, but because of the incredible bargains on Umax, Motorola, Power Computing, and other clones this year.

But the survey after that will probably have Apple at #1 again.

Mac users are an incredibly loyal bunch.

Further Reading

  • Mac Users Remain Loyal to the Core, Heather Newman, Detroit Free Press
  • Loyal to the Core, David K. Every, MacKiDo
  • Customer Loyalty Doesn’t Matter (no longer online), Somnath Banerjee, State of the Macintosh
  • Yikes! Gateway Overtakes Apple as Leader in Brand Loyalty (no longer online), MacCentral
  • Big PC Vendors Run Up Their Customer Loyalty (no longer online), 25 Feb. 1998
  • Gateway Leads in Home PC Loyalty (no longer online), IDC, 2 April 1998
  • Gateway Leads in Home PC Loyalty, IDC, 11 November 1997
  • Macintosh Again Leads PC Industry in Brand Loyalty, Apple, August 1997
  • PC Brand Loyalty (no longer online), Computer Intelligence InfoCorp, July 1997
  • Apple Tops PC Brand Loyalty (no longer online), MacWeek, 18 June 1997