Apple Retail Mac Sales Down In February: Survey


Apple’s (AAPL) Mac sales aren’t doing better this month, according to a survey by Channel Checkers, a research firm that does work for hedge funds and money managers. According to a report:

  • Two-thirds of Apple retail stores surveyed said that Mac sales are down in February from January. A third say sales are up this month.
  • A majority say that Apple’s high-end MacBook Pro is the top seller.
  • And a majority of stores say that they aren’t discounting iPods or Macs.

We caution reading too far into this: It’s just one survey (of 15 stores) by one company. And February isn’t exactly a big month for computer buying.

But it gels with last week’s report from retail research firm NPD Group, which said that Mac sales were soft in January, but that demand for high-end Mac laptops more than $1,500 — like MacBook Pros — were doing well.

If true, it’s not good news for Apple’s March quarter. Last year, March quarter Mac unit sales were especially strong — up 51% year-over-year — fuelled by the MacBook Air launch and a stronger economy. This year, with a crappy economy, stale Mac lineup, and falling PC industry sales, Apple’s growth machine is sputtering — and Apple’s Mac business could realistically post a year-over-year decline in unit sales.

Meanwhile, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu says his checks with Apple’s supply chain suggest that March quarter iPhone sales are tracking around 3.5 million, more than the 3 million he’s estimated for the quarter. If Apple does sell 3.5 million iPhones this quarter, that would represent roughly 105% year-over-year growth, better than the 88% year-over-year growth Apple reported last quarter.