Apple's Gadget Sales Fell in January

Posted on February 19, 2009

Apple LogoThe Wall Street Journal reports that Apple's unit sales fell 6% in January 2009 compared with January 2008's figures. The dollar value of Apple's sales fell by a steeper amount (11%) as consumers turned away from Apple's pricier computer models.
Demand for Apple's laptop computers, in particular, had remained relatively solid for months despite the economic downturn as consumers were willing to pay higher prices for a sleek design and unique operating system. But NPD analyst Stephen Baker said consumers are becoming more price-sensitive as the economic climate continues to worsen.

"Casual buyers or people who are trying to make a choice are trading down," Mr. Baker said.

NPD compiles estimates of sales through U.S. retailers, including Apple's company-owned stores and Web site. The firm estimates that the dollar value of Apple's sales through U.S. retail channels fell 11% during the month, faster than the decline in unit sales. Its market share, measured in dollars, declined to 13.7% from 16.4% in January 2008, NPD said.
The report could be good news for some of Apple's many rivals in the computer and smartphones markets that offer lower-priced gadgets. Apple could reduce prices to try and increase demand but they did not return the WSJ's calls. There have been rumors that Apple may release a $99 iPhone this summer.