Apple 2.0

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Analyst: 'This holiday season belongs to Apple'

November 23, 2012: 10:21 AM ET

With refreshes across 80% of its product line, Apple devices are hot Black Friday sellers

Shoppers waiting outside a Best Buy. Photo: AP

FORTUNE -- There was a lot of chatter about Apple (AAPL) in the sales reports for Black Friday 2012.

  • Topeka Capital's Brian White ran down the 7% to 31% discounts in Apple's Black Friday "Come and Give It" sale -- the only day of the year Apple offers deals on any of its products. "We believe this holiday season will belong to Apple," he told his clients, "as the product lineup has never been stronger."
  • Price cuts on selected Apple items were even steeper at major resellers such as Best Buy (BBY) and Walmart (WMT), which used the devices as loss-leaders to get customers into the stores. Walmart, for example, was offering a gift card that reduced the price of the full-sized iPad 2 to $324 -- $5 less than the new iPad mini. The limited supplies quickly sold out.
  • Nielsen reported Tuesday that the iPad topped children's Christmas wish lists for the third year in a row, followed by the iPod touch, iPad mini and iPhone. The Nintendo Wii U was the only non-Apple product to make it into this year's top 5 wished-for gifts.
  • In a pre-Black Friday report, IBM's (IBM) Benchmark Service reported that Thanksgiving online purchases were up 17.8% from last year and mobile traffic up 28.5% -- dominated by Apple mobile devices. Roughly one sale in five was being made through an iPhone or iPad.
  • Business Insider spotted what may be the best Apple deal of the season: Refurbished iPhone 5's at AT&T (T) for $99.99 with a two year contract, 50% off the regular contract price.

UPDATE: Wells Fargo's Maynard Um also weighed in. "Early checks suggest demand continues to be robust with strong store traffic through the week and early Friday," he wrote clients in a report from some Apple Stores. "Popular products based on our visits include iPad Mini, iPad 2, Macbook Air/Pro, as well as Lightning cables and adapter (we see high attach rates to these high margin accessories)." He continues:

"We believe iPad Mini is proving to be a must-have holiday item and while we expect lower priced competitive tablets to draw attention as well, we note that we do not expect Apple to maintain its dominant unit share though do expect it to dominate profit share (while we estimate Apple accounts for 53% of the PC industry's profit share despite less than 5% unit share, we expect Apple to have a more dominant unit/profit share in tablets). We believe Apple is on track to meet or exceed our 20.2 million iPad forecast for the December quarter."

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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