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Analyst: Apple so far unaffected by PC price collapse

updated 04:55 pm EST, Thu March 5, 2009

Apple holds ASPs

Apple has so far avoided the "permanent and structural" collapse of overall PC average selling prices and subsequent decline in revenue, according to TBR analyst Ezra Gottheil. The trend is explained by the ongoing economic recession and the gaining popularity of low-priced netbooks. Combining numbers from Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo, the analyst saw a 13 percent drop in average selling price (ASP) and an 18 percent decline in PC revenue just in the fourth quarter of 2008.

"ASPs have been declining over the long term," Gottheil admitted, "but the fall-off became steeper in 2008 and the bottom dropped out in 4Q08."

Despite the "dramatic and frightening economic crisis," overall unit volume has only fallen by five percent. Apple may not be immune to the lackluster sales numbers, but it diverges from the other companies by maintaining its profit margins and price points.

"Apple's a special case in that not only are its ASPs much higher than the others," Gottheil noted, "but also they have been amazingly flat over the eight years of data that I have, while the others have showed a steady erosion. The differences have only gotten wider over the years."

Although the Mac-maker has established fairly rigid ASPs across the better part of a decade, the company has seen an eight percent decline from $1,532 in the fourth quarter of 2007 to $1,408 at the end of last year. The analyst contributed the change to the introduction of the new MacBook in October, with a new price point on the MacBook White, and the aluminum-unibody notebook that bridged the gap between MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

Gottheil expects Apple to eventually produce a netbook, despite Steve Jobs' comments that "we [Apple] don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." The analyst also believes that Apple has room to drop its prices to adjust for a decline in sales. "They can profitably produce Macs at lower prices," he says. "Still high quality, just not as much horsepower." [via Fortune]




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Mixotic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    One reason...

    Apple is not affected by the recent upswing in netbook sales is the simple fact that you CANNOT buy an Apple netbook. If you want a netbook to run OS X you need to go through some pretty involved setup, not something a typical user will undertake. So if you want the OS, you gotta buy the machine.

    Also, the iPhone is Apple's netbook.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -6

    recently...

    ...I've noticed a massive upsurge in the number of Mac's for sale in the local classifieds. There appear to be a lot of people dumping recently acquired machines (1-3 months). Are switchers switching back? If a Mac is a "lifestyle" product, what happens if you can no longer afford the lifestyle?

  1. Jeff Simpson

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Classifieds

    In the Arizona classifieds, the latest aluminum unibody MacBooks ARE listed but as items WANTED, not for items for sale. The MBs and MBPs I do see for sale are going for more than the refurb units from the Apple store.

  1. davesmall

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    Apple must love this

    Apple must be loving this. Competitors like Dell racing to the bottom and selling near zero profit machines with very restricted capabilities. In other words, Apple's competitors are desperate and have started selling c*** in order to at least sell something. This is exactly how Apple can gain from this recession. They just need to stick to their game plan and stay out of the c*** business.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Re: Apple must love this

    Apple must be loving this. Competitors like Dell racing to the bottom and selling near zero profit machines with very restricted capabilities.

    As opposed to Macs, which have very restricted capabilities, but sell nowhere near the bottom.

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