Despite the large number of discounts on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and even Thanksgiving Day, Apple’s MacBook lineup saw a 6% decrease in U.S. sales over the five-week-long 2012 holiday sales period. NPD Group’s Weekly Tracking Service revealed that Apple’s MacBook sales from November 18 through December 22 were lower than the same period in 2011. Despite slower sales, the average selling price of MacBook went up nearly $100 from a year prior to $1,419.
The MacBook sales decline could be explained at least in part by the fact that the only new portable Mac released by Apple ahead of the holiday shopping season was the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. The rest of Apple’s MacBook lineup received updates over the summer while the company’s fall refresh focused on desktops with a redesigned iMac and updated Mac mini.
Apple issued minor updates to the entire MacBook Pro lineup in late 2011, featuring slightly faster Intel CPUs, new graphics processors, and larger hard drives. Although Apple saw a domestic decline with its notebook lineup, MacBooks did not see as significant of a decline as Windows PCs during the same period. Sales of notebooks running Microsoft Windows were down 11% year over year, even with the much hyped launch of the new Windows 8 operating system. With the average selling price of Windows notebooks increasing $2 to $420. Touchscreen notebooks with Windows 8 had an average price of $700 and accounted for 4.5% of all Windows notebook sales.
The biggest hit for PCs overall came in the low-end market, a segment where Apple’s ipad has had the greatest effect. According to NPD, sales of sub-$500 PCs were off 16% year over year. Overall, American consumer electronics sales were off 3.7% in the 2012 holiday season when compared to 2011. Electronics sales worsened as the holiday season went on, as the last three weeks before Christmas saw sales fall 11%. The vice president of industry analysis at NPD, Stephen Baker, blamed what he called a “weak product cycle” in the consumer electronics industry. The bright spots according to him were cited as soundbars, headphones with microphones, interchangeable lens cameras, cellular accessories, and tablets. According to Baker:
For the third consecutive year sales trends worsened in the later part of the holiday season. The hyped-up promotion of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and now Thanksgiving Day has proven remarkably effective in moving sales into the early part of the holiday season. Trends like online shopping and self-gifting have intensified the focus on the more event-driven early part of the holiday season.
Source: NPD Group via AppleInsider