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Holiday MacBook sales drop 6 percent year-over-year

updated 01:22 pm EST, Fri January 4, 2013

Windows notebooks see tougher hit

For a period between November 18th and December 22nd, MacBook sales came in 6 percent lower year-over-year, according to new NPD Group data. It's not clear why MacBook sales suffered, although there are several potential reasons. The major driver may be that Apple released only one updated MacBook in late 2012, the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro; every other MacBook was updated earlier in the year. In late 2011, the entire MacBook Pro lineup was refreshed.

Cost could be another issue. The average selling price of MacBooks went up almost $100 year-over-year during the holidays, possibly because Apple put most of its marketing and development effort into the Retina models, which are also far more expensive than their non-Retina counterparts.

Windows notebooks took a worse hit in NPD figures, sliding 11 percent versus 2011. Average selling price increased $2 to $420, and only 4.5 percent of systems were touchscreen computers equipped with Windows 8. Those models had an ASP of $700. The deepest impact is said to have been felt on sales of sub-$500 PCs, which dropped 16 percent. That market could be skewing towards tablets, namely the Apple iPad, Google Nexus, and Amazon Kindle Fire.

Overall consumer electronics sales dipped 3.7 percent during the 2012 holidays, getting worse in the last three weeks, which were under by 11 percent. NPD blames a "weak product cycle," although items like tablets, soundbars, cellular accessories, headphones with mics, and interchangeable-lens cameras reportedly did well.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Terri

    Senior User

    Joined: 03-24-01

    I need a new Macbook but non user replaceable battery, no matt screens, 17" has been discontinued, which I what I use, has kept me from buying a new Macbook. Not really crazy about having to run Mountain Lion either.

    Plus the prices on Apple laptops have gotten even more expensive.

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 11-14-05

    NPD is always wrong with their guesses. If Apple hasn't released sales figures, how would they know? I don't know why people listen to what NPD says.

  1. design_ab

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-10-09

    I would echo what Terri mentioned.

    Apple has but a lot of emphasis on the consumer side with its iPhone/iPad/iPod efforts to the detriment of the Pro users. No matt screens, user non-replaceable parts and discontinuing the 17" model are my reasons also. We bought a 17" with a matt screen option instead of the newer MBPs.

    Still using 10.6.8 on our Mac Mini Server as Mountain Lion has had it's issues with other apps and hardware. Time for Apple to continue 'cleaning house' and return to its basics roots. Some of iOS features should remain on iOS platforms, not on desktops/laptops. And when to we see a real upgrade to the MacPro?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    FWIW, Mountain Lion is my favorite Mac OS ever (since 1989, System 4.2).

    It fixes pretty much everything that was wonky about Lion, and I love the hell out of the new features that weren't in Snow Leopard.

  1. VoiceOfReason

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-11-12

    Keep in mind that NPD just publishes guesses. Like an astrologer.

  1. Omek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-18-02

    I will also never buy a retina Macbook Pro unless it has user-upgradable parts. If Apple starts gluing everything together and making their computers non-accessible by users then I'm going with a hackintosh instead.

  1. mikeskuro

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-27-07

    This current lineup of macbook's is the one with the most amount of compromise. The options are great but they are expensive, which you also have to weigh upon the non replaceable parts. I have upgraded my ram twice. I have thrown in countless different hard drive and SSD drives into my 2011 macbook pro 13. Which also is a testament not to mess with success and when things are working, why replace it. I could buy anything I want and this thing is faster then my client's computers that they pay me to fix.

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