Retail sales of desktop Macintosh systems in January fell 62 percent and laptop sales were off 36 percent from the previous year as computer sales for the entire industry continued their downward trend from the holiday buying season, according to an analysis by industry watcher PC Data.
For January compared to December, Macintosh desktop sales fell from 3 percent to 2.3, while laptop sales fell the exact same amount to 3 percent.
“You’d have to expect that these numbers were going to be down as Apple transitioned between new Power Mac G4 systems and new G4 PowerBooks,” PC Data analyst Stephen Baker told MacCentral. “The price cuts Apple set in place for Christmas didn’t help either because everybody cut prices. People aren’t buying stuff because of the price.”
Baker also feels that despite the transition factor, the iMac is “getting long in the tooth” and needs a refresh to pick up sales, which were factored in Apple’s overall January slump.
While January was not good for Apple, it wasn’t much better for Windows-based systems. Desktop PC sales plummeted 26 percent in units and 28 percent in dollar value compared with January of last year. Notebooks sales slipped far less, similar to their December performance, with sales down 9 percent in units and 6 percent in dollar value.
“These numbers prove there is a pretty dark cloud over everybody’s head,” Baker said. “But it’s not like the weather man didn’t tell us this was coming. It’s not going to get much better for awhile.”
The silver lining to the bad figures was evidence that consumers are buying higher-end systems. Sales of PCs priced between $1,000 and $1,500 rose 65 percent from January of 2000. The average selling price dropped though to $1,050 from an average of about $1,250 over the last few months, Baker said, with the average beginning to settle at around $1,100.
“Together with the economy and less-than compelling reasons to buy, consumers are being frugal with what they spend on,” Baker said. “If they’re buying, they’re buying the big features that make up these more expensive systems, such as bigger hard drives, more memory, and CD-RW or DVD.”
Notebook sales were also off in January with an overall drop of 9 percent for the industry and 0.7 percent for Mac from December. Sony portable sales rose 137 percent in January 2000, HP gained 85 percent, Toshiba fell 33 percent, Apple was off 36 percent, and Compaq fell 41 percent.
“Portables are more seasonable, but they aren’t immune to what’s going on in the PC industry as a whole,” Baker commented.
Notebooks priced between $1,000 and $2,000 made up two-thirds of the market in January, according to PC Data. Comparatively, iBooks systems have been selling between $999 and $1799, depending on configuration, while older G3 PowerBook systems that were still available in January have been selling for around $2,000.
Desktop PC sale market share for January 2001 was:
Portable PC sale market share for January 2001 was:
One important factor to consider is that PC Data only tracks retail sales in the U.S. — these figures do not include any sales from online retailers, like the Apple Store. With the Apple Store figures included, the picture would undoubtedly look rosier for Macintosh sales.