updated 09:20 am EDT, Wed August 11, 2010
Apple, high-end PCs thrive in back to school sales
UBS analyst Maynard Um today reported in an investment note that back to school sales were still slow but appeared to favor Apple. Checks at stores and staff showed that most stores were only seeing a "mild" bump in sales from students and that most of the heavy traffic was at Apple retail stores. The iPhone 4 and iPad were responsible for lineups, but the new iMac was also seeing strong demand.
Notebook sales may also favor Apple, the researcher said. Although many netbooks are now at $300 and are getting heavier promos at aisle caps, more portable sales are skewing to mid- or high-end notebooks, with just 26 percent of systems costing less than than $450. Although iPads may affect netbooks, they're not likely to impact back to school sales as most students still need the performance and OS of a regular computer.
Um anticipated a last-minute spike in back to school sales, helped in part by promos, but still predicted a slump in PC sales down to 9.7 percent for the whole industry versus the usual 12 percent. A corroborating report from JP Morgan had PC shipments plunging in July as companies like Acer, HP and Lenovo hadn't had strong sales earlier in the summer.
In the second half of the year, Apple is expected to be the only computer builder targeting home users that succeeds where the most Windows success will come from enterprise business.