Is the iPad Cannibalizing Mac Sales? Not Really.
After reviewing NPD’s domestic retail data for the first month of Apple’s June quarter, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that the Mac has been relatively immune to cannibalization by the iPad, though the same cannot be said of the iPod.
“The iPad launched in US Apple retail stores on 4/3, impacting nearly the entire month of Apple’s sales in April. As a result, April NPD data gives us the first sign of the degree to which the iPad cannibalizes iPod or Mac sales,” Munster noted. “From the early NPD data, it appears that the iPad has a minimal cannibalization impact on Mac sales, and could be slightly cannibalizing iPod sales.”
The analyst doesn’t expect this to be a big problem for Apple (AAPL). “We believe in the long run Mac cannibalization will exist, but will be minimal,” he concludes. “Apple has successfully limited the iPad functionality to primarily content consumption, vs. content creation on a Mac. And relative to the iPod, the physical size of an iPad provides a meaningfully different value proposition (portability vs. screen size).”
Obviously, it’s a little early for definitive calls on just what sort of effects the iPad is having on sales of Apple’s other products. That said, Munster’s analysis of NPD’s data does jibe with a small survey by UBS analyst Maynard Um that found that most iPad buyers do not view the device as a replacement for their traditional computers.
As I wrote in an earlier post, “So most likely, the iPad will prove additive for Apple. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it generates a halo effect around the company’s products similar to that created by the iPod. Certainly, that’s the sense one has paying a visit to an Apple Store these days or being spotted with an iPad in public.”