While most Apple watchers have been concentrating on the iPad, something unexpected happened: sales of Macs and iPods rose higher than financial experts expected. The new retail numbers makes one analyst believe Wall Street is in for a surprise for the March quarter.
According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster’s interpretation of retail sales figures supplied by research firm NPD, Mac sales are up 39 percent compared to the same period a year ago, far above the prevailing Wall Street expectations of a 22 percent nosedive. Likewise, iPod sales, according to the NPD data, increased by 7 percent through February, up from a 17 percent drop financial experts were expecting.
As a result, Munster believes Apple will sell 2.8 million to 2.9 million Macs for the second quarter, a tad higher than Wall Street’s expected 2.7 million second quarter results. The analyst also foresees 9 to 10 million iPods sold during the period, up from the Street’s prediction of 9 million.
The rosy picture comes with some provisos, though. First, it should have been easy for Apple to beat expectations, given 2009 got off to such a sluggish start. Another point that Munster makes is that while unit sales are up, the average selling price is lower. The average price of a Mac is down 10 percent compared to the 7 percent Munster had expected. Although the analyst had expected the average selling price of iPods to be higher, the actual ASP inched up just 3 percent, compared to the 15 percent the analyst had expected.