Market share isn’t the literal be-all, end-all of a healthy company, but it’s a critical component. After 2006, and particularly after 2011, AMD’s CPU market share took a brutal beating. In the wake of Ryzen’s debut almost exactly a year ago, enthusiasts and investors have both been curious about how much AMD’s new CPU core has changed its fortunes in the market and whether Ryzen had put the company on a new footing. That information has been slow in coming — not only does it take research firms time to dig through sales figures after a quarter is over, new products aren’t instantly adopted, even by people who eventually plan to adopt them.
New research from Dean McCarron at Mercury Research suggests that AMD’s growth throughout 2017 was steady and significant. AMD’s market share in Q3 2017 rose to 10.9 percent from 9.1 percent, a gain of 1.2x, as reported by THG. Its Q4 2017 figures are similarly higher, from 9.9 percent in Q4 2016 to 12 percent in Q4 2017, which again reflects an overall gain of 1.2x.
It’s easy to look at figures like this and conclude a 2.1-percentage-point gain in market share isn’t much, but that oversimplifies the situation. The 1.2x increase in market share is a better way to consider the financial implications for AMD. Part of why AMD’s financials have improved so much, in addition to the moderate impact of cryptocurrency-fueled GPU sales, is because the Ryzen CPU sales released throughout 2017 commanded, on average, much higher ASPs than previous Bulldozer-derived CPUs and APUs.
In the months before Ryzen 7 launched, AMD CPUs (See on Amazon) typically held 3-4 spots on Amazon’s Top 20, all with lower-end CPUs selling almost exclusively at or below $150.
This data from the Wayback Machine makes the point: Four AMD SKUs, with an unweighted-by-sales-figures average selling price of $144. The most expensive CPU is the FX-8370 at #17 and $189. AMD’s highest-ranked CPU was the FX-6300, at $100.
As of this writing, AMD has seven spots on Amazon’s Top 20. It’s highest-ranked CPU is the Ryzen 5 1600 at #2 and $189. The also-unweighted ASP of its seven CPUs is higher, at $192. Its most expensive chips are the Ryzen 7 1700X and Ryzen 7 1700 with Wraith Cooler, both at $279. In short, while we can’t draw exact conclusions, we have reason to believe that AMD made significantly more money from CPU sales in 2017, including AMD’s own Q4 2017 results. From speaking to Dean McCarron of Mercury Research, THG concludes AMD likely shifted an additional two million CPUs over the entire year.
There’s reason to believe 2018 could be even stronger. During the Q4 2017 conference call, AMD’s CEO Lisa Su told investors that “I think in terms of overall new product revenues, if you take Ryzen, EPYC and then our new graphics products in totality, in Q4 they were about 33 percent of our revenue and we expect that to ramp nicely as we go into 2018.”
The majority of AMD’s 2017 revenue, in other words, came from PS4/Xbox One sales, older APUs, and older graphics cards. That also makes sense, given that AMD didn’t have a true top-to-bottom solution for Ryzen until just weeks ago, with the launch of its new 2200G and 2400G APUs. With Ryzen now fully in-market and a Ryzen+ refresh coming in the next few months, AMD should continue to improve its overall performance and market share.