The curious case of IDC, Gartner & Strategy Analytics' PC, phone & tablet data on Apple

Perhaps you have a passing familiarity with the big three, market research firms: IDC, Gartner, and Strategy Analytics. If you have been reading my work, I have been reporting on them since before this blog. However, that time has come to an end. They should no longer be considered reliable sources for market research. Truthfully, they should have never been so esteemed. Here's why:

They are not unbiased researchers who report on important metrics in the consumer electronics market. Their business model has nothing to do with market research, but market shaping. They are not market informants; they are market manipulators. Consider. If their business was based on plumbing the market for interesting details and selling them to anyone willing to pay, they would be long out of business. Once the information hits the internet, it no longer has value as a marketable commodity. 

Instead, their real customers are the people who pay them to do the research, not the people who buy it after the fact. The information they release is not researched, then bought; it is bought, then researched. Here is a snippet from the article, which I highly recommend you read in full:

That last line is particularly interesting because Strategy Analytics came out and said what lots of people have been thinking. Rather than being an unbiased source of purely factual data, Strategy Analytics disclosed that one of its most valuable "high stakes projects" for its clients is the practice of "influencing consumer behavior and buying preferences."

How exactly does reporting facts on sales result in "influencing consumer behavior and buying preferences"? Hypothetically, if one could fool the world's journalists into parroting off statistics that portrayed the most successful vendor of tablets as being in desperate straits and "failing" in a matter of speaking, it would sure take the pressure off of those who are failing to actually sell tablets, wouldn't it? 

If you're Pepsi and you're getting outsold by Coke, why not print headlines that statistically compare Coke to every cola on earth, or perhaps every drink containing caffeine? Poor Coke! After inventing such news its "market share" would now ostensibly be slipping into irrelevance, calling into question the fact that it sells the most product in its actual market, makes the most money, and people everywhere pay a premium for its name brand. What a miserable loser Coke suddenly is, just with some creative reporting of meaningless, contrived statistics.

The article goes into great detail about the shenanigans of these market manipulation firms. Again, I highly recommend you click on the source link and read the full article. From this moment, on, IDC, Gartner, and Strategy Analytics are dead to me.

David Johnson