Will a slowing economy and cannibalization from the iPhone ruin holiday sales for Apple’s (AAPL) iPods? Nope, says Kaufman Bros analyst Shaw Wu.
Wu says the iPod is doing so well that retail outlets like Amazon (AMZN), Best Buy (BBY), Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT) are running out of current models. Unfortunately, he offers no details on how he arrives at this conclusion — or at least Reuters doesn’t.
(Only two of Amazon’s top 20 iPods aren’t in stock: The 8 GB and 16 GB iPod touch. Both of those models ship within 24 hours from Apple.com. Thanks to reader JB for pointing out that Amazon’s iPod listings page includes third-party sources for its “in stock” indication.)
Reuters: Wu said stocks of certain iPod models have been harder to come by at Amazon.com, Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart.
Wu says: “Frankly, we find these sell-outs on iPods surprising given how difficult the macroeconomic environment is, putting a crimp on consumer spending. From our assessment, we believe iPod is holding up better than most, due to its relatively low ASP (average selling price) and strong consumer understanding of the value it provides.”
Wu is predicting iPod sales to reach 21 million this quarter. That’s below last year’s sales of 22.1 million iPods sold (and Wu’s own September prediction of 24 million) but above the Street’s prediction of 18.6 million.
In other words: Q4 iPod sales are going to be horrible relative to Wu’s expectations only three months ago. But maybe not disastrous.