Apple Online Sales Huge On Black Friday, Apple Retail Mac Down

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Update: Munster has issued a new Black Friday report that includes e-commerce information.

It looks like Apple’s Web business was huge: Sales were up 39% year-over-year on Black Friday, according to comScore, versus 11% year-over-year growth for e-commerce in general. Apple’s Web traffic in general was only up 2% year-over-year in November, so the Black Friday uptick is impressive.

Earlier: Apple’s Mac sales at Apple retail stores on Black Friday were down this year versus last year, according to research by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

But in a note today, Munster says he still expects Apple to meet Street expectations for Dec. quarter Mac sales. And anyway, December is much more important.

  • Munster’s staff visited 3 Apple retail stores on Black Friday. On average, the stores were selling 8.3 Macs per hour, down from 13 Macs per hour last year.
  • Munster calls this “down slightly.” But his statistics suggest a 36% year-over-year drop — more than slight.
  • Obviously some of this drop could be made up from there being more Apple stores now than a year ago. Or online shopping, or more Mac sales early in November, or whatever. But it still suggests a rather sharp drop for an otherwise consistent situation.
  • The good news for Apple is that Black Friday, while a headline shopping day, won’t make or break its Dec. quarter numbers. Nearly half of its quarterly sales come in December, Munster estimates.
  • Munster still thinks Apple will ship 2.8 million Macs this quarter, roughly in line with Street consensus. He also thinks that estimate may “prove conservative.”
  • We’d note that Apple still can’t keep up with demand on its new high-end, quad-core, 27-inch iMacs — which suggests stronger-than-expected demand that could push many November sales into December.

Meanwhile, in a separate note, Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty said Apple store foot traffic on Black Friday was “strong” and “similar to the last few years.” She adds, “Anecdotally, Apple resellers, such as Best Buy, also saw solid Apple demand and some resellers offered slightly better discounts than the Apple stores.”

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