Mac user base by country: my figures so far

· by Steve · Read in about 3 min · (559 Words)

As many of you probably know, almost a year ago now I decided to take the plunge and move my primary development activities to the Mac. I taught myself Objective-C, got properly to grips with Cocoa at last, and started a new Mac OS X-specific project which would eventually become SourceTree, learning a ton along the way (a process which is by no means complete!).

Happily, things have turned out very well - SourceTree continues to sell, reassuring me that there’s enough interest out there for me to keep expanding and improving it (I’m looking forward to getting the next major release in people’s hands soon), and I’ve also been getting some Mac/Ogre-based contract work which I’ve enjoyed a great deal. In short, my Macbook Pro and I are now pretty inseparable, Windows 7 is powered off 99% of the time, and I saved hundreds of pounds by not upgrading to Visual Studio 2010 😉

Out of interest, I thought I’d share some of my SourceTree sales information, in terms of the country distribution. Mac use is typically associated primarily with the USA, and while that’s certainly reflected in my absolute numbers, there’s some quite interesting figures revealed when you take into account population size. SourceTree is aimed at developers of course, so all numbers reflect this audience alone (and of course those that chose to buy it) but in practice I suspect that the proportions of developers to non-developers is fairly uniform in most developed countries.

So, firstly the absolute distribution:

No surprises there, the USA is the single largest source, followed by Germany and the UK (who are constantly scrapping over second place!). To me though, Switzerland stuck out as the most interesting, because it’s up there in 4th place yet has a relatively small population (under 8m). So I wondered - what would the chart look like if I scaled it by the population size? Here’s the result:

And there you go - as expected Switzerland jumps right to the top, and to my surprise Luxembourg and Denmark are up there too, beating the UK which I expected to come in second. Quite a lot of European countries are punching above their weight in per-capita Mac development, if SourceTree sales are any indication. In fact, on a per-capita basis, the USA is only just sneaking into the top 10, despite it being by far my best overall customer in sheer sales volume.

I’m aware that scaling by population isn’t all that scientific, since it is sensitive to the proportion of non-developers (and even non-computer users), but as I say, I think in developed countries at least, the comparisons are reasonably valid.

So the perception that Mac development is more popular in the USA than elsewhere may be inaccurate, based on my numbers at least (which of course are not massive in the grand scheme of things, but still a statistically relevant sample I think). Sure, simply because of the sheer population size of the USA it’s bound to dominate anyone’s sales numbers, but if you asked the question ‘of 1000 randomly selected developers in a country, what percentage are using a Mac?’, the result may not be skewed in the way you might expect. It was surprising to me, anyway.

I wonder if anyone else who has been doing this for longer has had similar results?