Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

11 Apple iPads per hour vs. zero Microsoft Surface tablets

November 26, 2012: 6:05 AM ET

A survey compared sales at an Apple Store and a Microsoft Store in the Mall of America

Dueling stores in the Mall of America. Photo: gregstock.me

FORTUNE -- On Saturday we posted side-by-side videos showing Black Friday shopping activity at an Apple Store and a Microsoft Store in Lone Tree, Colo. The videos left the impression that there was a lot less shopping going in the Microsoft Store.

Thanks to Gene Munster's team at Piper Jaffray, we can support that impression with some hard numbers.

Munster's crew spent eight hours on Black Friday, as it has every year for the past five years, counting heads at the Apple Store in the Mall of America in Minneapolis. This year he (or his staff) also spent two hours monitoring the Microsoft Store directly across the hall.

Three findings:

  • There was 47% less foot traffic at the Microsoft (MSFT) outlet than the Apple (AAPL) store.
  • Shoppers bought 17.2 items per hour at the Apple Store and only 3.5 items per hour at the Microsoft Store. All but two of the Microsoft ┬ápurchases were X-Box games.
  • Shoppers at the Apple Store bought an average of 11 iPads per hour. Despite heavy TV, print and billboard advertising for the new Microsoft Surface tablet, not one was sold sold during the two hours Piper Jaffray spent monitoring that store. Doesn't bode well for Microsoft's answer to the iPad.

Meanwhile at the Apple store, traffic was up but sales of Macs and iPads were down from 2012. Munster attributes this primarily to supply issues:

The positive take away was store traffic was up 31% y/y, likely driven by shoppers wanting to see the new iPad Mini. The negatives were that the most popular iPad Mini (16G) is in limited supply and Mac sales (~12% of revenue) continue to appear to be impacted by the iPad and a slowdown ahead of the new iMac.

Below: Munster's spreadsheet showing the increase in traffic and the slowdown in sales. It would have been more useful if he had also counted iPhone purchases.

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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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