Walmart could sell 4.5 million iPhones in 2009, equally the number of handsets sold by Apple retailers, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster speculated Tuesday.
The analyst called the 4.5 million benchmark “achievable” if each of Walmart’s 3,500 stores sell 1,284 iPhones in 2009. Munster expects Apple’s 208 retail locations will sell 4.5 million iPhones.
“We do not believe that Street numbers accurately reflect the potential impact from Walmart stores on iPhone sales in 2009,” Munster told investors. The Piper Jaffray analyst retained his belief that 45 million iPhones will be sold next year.
Although Munster sees as “plausible” rumors that iPhones will appear at Walmarts later this year, the Mac watcher called chances of a $99 4GB iPhone “unlikely.” Talk of a Walmart selling a $99 iPhone was doused earlier this week when Mac Rumors published a photo showing training material promoting a $197 iPhone.
Despite the questionable rumor of a sub-$100 iPhone at Walmart, Munster believes such a price could be part of an Apple expansion that would offer low, mid and high-priced iPhones.
Echoing Munster, UBS analyst Maynard Um Monday described a $99 iPhone as ‘atypical’ of Apple’s customary “premium brand strategy.”
In addition, selling a $99 iPhone could “cannibalize” sales of 8GB and 16GB versions of the Apple handset, Um argued.