Kindle Fire Nibbles at iPad Holiday Sales

Published on January 3, 2012
by John Paczkowski

Apple may have sold as many as two million fewer iPads than expected this holiday season, and Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet may be to blame.

Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt pruned his forecast for Apple’s fiscal first quarter today, saying that while iPad sales for the period did exceed those of the previous quarter, he believes they fell well short of his estimates.

McCourt had been looking for iPad shipments of 16 million. Now he thinks that they’ll top out at 13 million, and that a portion of that shortfall is due to the Fire. “Based on data from Amazon, we believe the Amazon Fire likely sold 4-5 million units this holiday season, which probably means maybe 1-2 million cannibalized iPad sales at most,” McCourt wrote in a note to clients.

So, not a big hit to iPad sales, but a hit just the same. According to McCourt, this isn’t a sign of some big shift, but more a reflection of the difference in price between the two devices.

“Clearly, a lot of folks who buy Kindle Fires simply are not in the market for a $500 tablet,” McCourt told AllThingsD. “These are customers that either would have purchased a $100 Kindle or no tablet at all. There are some customers who clearly wanted to gift a tablet this year, and it’s cheaper to gift a Fire than an iPad. That’s where the impact comes in.”

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