updated 11:00 am EDT, Tue March 15, 2011
Half of Fifth Avenue stock sold to exporters?
Many of the iPad 2s sold since Friday's launch have been bought by gray-market dealers planning to resell overseas, Fortune reports. Quantities could be significant, as staff at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City, for instance, estimate that as many as half of the iPads sold there on Friday were bought for foreign markets. Total Friday sales at Fifth Avenue are thought to have been about 7,200 units.
A Mr. Lo -- allegedly one of the top gray marketers in Hong Kong -- is said to have had couriers in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles prepared to fly over suitcases full of iPad 2s. The incentive is the high premiums Apple fans are willing to pay for early access; by Sunday, Lo is noted to have been selling iPad 2s at markups between 83 and 105 percent. Whereas a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad would normally cost $499, Lo is selling it for the equivalent of $1,025.
The situation mirrors that of the iPhone 4, which until official Hong Kong and Chinese sales opened was regularly bought for gray market export in US cities like New York. Much of the problem can be attributed to Apple's product launch strategy, which initially concentrates most or all sales in the US, leaving regions like Hong Kong several months behind. With the iPad 2, even countries like Canada and Germany will not see a launch until March 25th.