Apple Dreaming of a Federal Reserve Green Christmas
Expectations for Apple are running high following its record September quarter and the company is well-poised to meet them, if Black Friday sales are any indication.
Thomas Weisel Partners visited 41 Apple (AAPL) retail locations in the United States, Canada and the U.K. over the weekend and was impressed by what it saw: “robust sales driven by sustained brand strength, rising demand for app-ready iPod touches and a positive-mix in Macs driven by Black Friday discounting.”
The research house says its checks suggest that same-store sales are up slightly year-over-year, driven by unflagging demand for the iPhone, among other things.
“While competition continues to intensify as new Android devices ramp our early holiday season analysis suggests upside exists to our Dec. quarter iPhone unit estimate of 8.2 million driven by growth in the broader smartphone market and overall market share gains by iPhone,” analyst Doug Reid explained in a note to clients.
“Although we see evidence of a strong early ramp by products which compete against iPhone, notably Droid on Verizon in the United States,” Reid added, “our checks indicate sales of iPhone remain strong in Europe and are accelerating off a low base in Asia.”
And what of Mac sales? With just one month of data, it’s a bit too early to make a call on the quarter–especially when nearly 50 percent of Mac sales in this quarter typically occur in the month of December. That said, Thomas Weisel expects Mac sales to be quite strong on increased demand for notebooks–specifically the MacBook Pro.
“Following checks we estimate that at 21 of the 41 stores (51%) MacBook Pro (led by the lower end 13” model) out-sold the recently introduced $999 MacBook. We had expected the lower ASP MacBook to outsell the Pro by 70% to 30%,” Reid wrote.
“The strength in Pro sales is consistent with Apple’s unexpected move to discount the MacBook Pro line but not the MacBook (resulting in a selling price for the 13″ MacBook Pro of $1098 in the United States, only $99 more than the $999 MacBook). We believe that Apple continues to benefit from the strong consumer PC demand that we saw in the Sep quarter.”