updated 01:00 pm EST, Mon November 10, 2008
ChangeWave Apple Holiday
Apple's recent MacBook lineup and the iPhone may make it one of the better-positioned companies to survive a likely steep drop in spending during the holidays, according to new data from ChangeWave. The analyst firm says that a full third of all studied US notebook buyers, or 33 percent, plan to buy some form of Apple notebook during the season or within the next 90 days from the start of November. The number represents a slight boost from 29 percent in September and puts Apple's demand on par with Dell; HP continues to significantly trail behind at just 22 percent.
Notably, the split in demand may also favor Apple's high-end notebooks. Statistics haven't been given for the higher-end systems, but about 20 percent of the 33 percent skews towards the higher-end MacBook Air and MacBook Pro systems. A relatively small 7 percent of all notebook buyers are likely to buy one variant of Apple's 13-inch MacBooks, but nearly as many at 6 percent are willing to buy Apple's lone remaining plastic model. The reason for the near-equal divide is unclear but points to the $999 price of the older design almost equaling demand for the new model.
Desktops continue to trail behind for Apple. The company did see a slight increase in demand from 26 to 27 percent but was eclipsed by Dell, which saw a sudden spike in likely purchases from 26 to 37 percent while HP took a drop from 20 percent to 17 percent. Most of the respondents tell ChangeWave that the Dell systems' cost is the primary factor and that Dell represents "great value;" one notes that the option of Windows XP on Vostro systems, which lets them avoid Windows Vista or trialware, is a decisive element.
Apple nonetheless continues to lead in portable device demand and stands to clearly outperform Research in Motion based on early polling. One sixth (16 percent) of all polled phone buyers plan to buy a touchscreen phone but will see 41 percent of that subset buying an iPhone. In contrast, the Storm should account for 24 percent of the group while all other phones would represent much less. Samsung's Instinct and Glyde combined represent just 4 percent of known demand among buyers, while the highly-promoted T-Mobile G1 and other T-Mobile-branded phones also mark 4 percent. HTC as a whole represents 5 percent.
Portable media players also see Apple continue unopposed. While most of the overall group has no intention to buy, iPods lead with 7 percent of demand versus just 1 percent each for Microsoft's entire Zune line and Sandisk's Sansa lineup.
The net gain for Apple is expected by ChangeWave to be critical for the winter, as 59 percent of all study members say they will spend less in the next 90 days despite the onset of the holidays. Just 10 percent will spend more during the holidays, which is down significantly from 18 percent. More say the economy is getting better but aren't necessarily changing their spending habits, the report notes.