NPD Data on Mac Sales Disappoints

Apple (AAPL) needs to refresh the Mac line. That’s a key takeaway from today’s data from market research firm NPD on August Mac and iPod sales. In a note this afternoon, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster reports that the NPD data showed Mac sales growth in August was up 23 percent year-over-year in units, down from 43 percent growth in July. On a revenue basis, Macs were up 21 percent year-over-year. Earlier in the day, in a preview of the report, Munster had forecast that the NPD data would show 35 to 40 percent year-over-year unit growth for the month. Munster also notes that NPD’s iPod data show 19 percent unit growth in August, up from 12 perent in July, while revenues were up 27 percent.

The bottom line, Munster writes, is that “the directional trend” in the Mac data is weaker than expected, “likely due to Mac family in need of refresh.” He notes that the iPod data were “surprisingly strong,” but that “the Street may not give Apple credit” for the strong iPod number.

The other factor in the weak Mac sales, Munster theorizes, is that “the weak consumer environment is negatively affecting Apple’s business.”

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