updated 09:50 am EST, Mon November 29, 2010
MacBook Air selling well despite lack of discount
iPod sales were unusually high this Black Friday, claims Kaufman analyst Shaw Wu. Several third-party retailers, in particular, are noted to have undergone spot shortages of the iPod nano and touch. "Our sources indicate that this is due to unexpected strong demand as many thought stand-alone MP3 players were a 'dead' category," Wu remarks, "but we believe the lure of multi-touch, apps, and attractive prices where the lack of monthly service fees (compared to a cellular contract), is helping."
The analyst also observes that the Touch was often being used as "doorbuster," meant to lure people to an outlet. Vendors such as Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and Target are reported to have offering discounts as high as 20 percent on Apple products, beating the 4 to 10 percent provided by Apple itself. The company moreover limited the scope of discounts to the Nano, Touch, iMac, iPad, MacBook Pro and 13-inch MacBook Air.
Wu suggests that the iPad and MacBook Air were also high sellers. The statement is backed by Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore, who contacted over 100 Apple Stores and 50 resellers. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster reports that based on several hours spent by his firm at different Apple Stores, iPads were selling at an average of 8.8 units per hour -- roughly on track for 5.5 million iPads in the quarter. "Most notable in our observations," he adds, "we noticed that the iPad is gaining traction (driven by lower price vs. the Mac) among demographics in which the Mac has historically not been successful. The bottom line is that Apple's addressable market is expanding with the iPad."
Mac sales are said to have been slightly down year-over-year, registering at 8.2 units an hour versus 8.3 in 2009. In 2008, the rate was a significantly higher 13 per hour. Munster cautions that he believes it's "too early to make a call" on the December quarter. "Note that Mac NPD data in the first month of the quarter (Oct.) was up 20% y/y," he writes.