Loss Leader Not in Apple's Vocabulary
This year will see one of the worst slumps in the PC industry ever. But as grim as things may get, they will perhaps not be so bad for Apple. According to TBR analyst Ezra Gottheil, the company has so far avoided the “permanent and structural” collapse of overall average selling prices for PCs and the related decline in revenue. In the fourth quarter of 2008, for example, there was a 13 percent drop in the average selling price for PCs and an 18 percent decline in PC revenue. Yet Apple’s ASP held relatively steady. “Apple’s a special case in that not only are its ASPs much higher than the others, but also they have been amazingly flat over the eight years of data that I have, while the others have showed a steady erosion,” Gottheil explained. “The differences have only gotten wider over the years.”
And that bodes well for Apple (AAPL). Because while its sales might be slowing along with the rest of the industry (though not nearly as badly; the company’s unit sales rose only nine percent in the December quarter, down from a 44 percent increase in the year prior), its price points and profit margins are holding nice and steady.