Launch Weekend iPad 2 Sales: One Million Sound About Right to You?
“Demand for the next generation iPad 2 has been amazing.”
That’s Apple’s sole comment to date on sales of its newest tablet and one far less specific than those with which it trumpeted sales of the first iPad. Which likely means one of two things: 1) early sales don’t merit a press release; 2) they do and Apple just hasn’t issued one yet or has decided to save that data point for its next earnings report.
Market consensus seems to be the latter. Already, early first weekend sales estimates of 400,000 to 600,000 are being made to look conservative as more bullish predictions hit the wires. Brian White at Ticonderoga Securities and Scott Sutherland at Wedbush both say they wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple sell close to one million iPad 2s in the opening weekend. And assuming supplies weren’t too constrained, they may well be proven right. With the consumer electronics market consumed by tablet mania largely unfulfilled by rival devices that have yet to arrive at market, the demand is certainly there. And the broader distribution network supporting the iPad 2’s launch (Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, AT&T, Verizon) suggests that Apple was reasonably prepared to meet it.
That said, nearly every analyst report I’ve read this morning notes that field checks of iPad retail outlets found most stores, including Apple retail locations, had weekend stock-outs. “Our checks pointed to a shocking 100% stock-out rate across Apple/authorized retail stores just a few hours into the official launch Friday evening, contributing to what we believe was one of the company’s most successful product launches to date,” Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore said in a note to clients Monday.
So in the end, Apple didn’t have enough iPad 2s on hand to completely satisfy demand. The question now is, did it satisfy enough of it to brag about.