updated 04:10 pm EDT, Mon April 11, 2011
Feb. figures linked to pre-production of iPad 2
Collectively, Apple's largest Taiwan-based suppliers grew sales about 141 percent year-over-year in March, according to Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White. The group is considered important as an "Apple barometer," given that when Apple is doing well, suppliers scale production to meet demand. The collective approach is considered more accurate than tracking a single company like Foxconn or Wintek, as they will often derive most of their sales from clients other than Apple. Specific firms in the barometer group are unmentioned by White, allegedly because of "Apple's secrecy regarding its supply base."
The March growth compares against a 172 percent jump in February. The latter is attributed to pre-production of the iPad 2, which shipped to the US on March 11th, and over two dozen other countries on March 25th. White additionally notes that the barometer group was up 34.6 percent month-over-month in March, above a six-year average March rise of 24.2 percent.
"We believe this strength was driven largely by the ramp of iPad 2 that continues to experience serial stock outs," the analyst comments. "Keep in mind, the iPad 2 ramp was a bit earlier than the iPad 1 in 2010 and thus the [month-over-month] sales growth in March 2011 was below the 52% [month-over-month] sales uptick in March 2010." The iPad 1 shipped to the US on April 3rd last year.