Apple Didn't Need Big Discounts on Black Friday Weekend


The iPad Air.

It's turning out to be an iPad Christmas after all. Apple CEO Tim Cook's prediction seems to be spot on. The iPad Air was a star this Black Friday weekend, along with several other Apple products, which took the top three spots in sales growth of new devices tracked by Localytics during the weekend. Apparently, Apple doesn't need massive discounts to move inventory on the major shopping weekend.

Surging sales despite small discounts
During the weekend measured by Localytics that included Cyber Monday (Nov. 29 through Dec. 2), offered 25%-plus discounts on select models of its Kindle Fire on Cyber Monday to move inventory. Meanwhile, Apple had only one promotion for its iPad Air on Black Friday: Purchasers received a $75 Apple Store gift card. But small discounts were all it took for the iPad Air to have an awesome weekend. Weekend sales for the device were up 51% from the previous weekend, according to Localytics. On the other hand, 7-inch Kindle Fire HD sales were up just 23%, coming in fourth place.

Sure, other retailers had bigger iPad Air discounts. But, for the most part, no tablet discounts were as aggressive as Amazon's Cyber Monday deal for two models of the Kindle Fire. Even more, iPad Air sales held up in spite of ad campaigns from Microsoft and Amazon that criticized the tablet.

iPhone 5c. Source: Apple.

Overall, Localytics findings suggested this Christmas promises many iPresents. Six of the nine top spots belonged to Apple. Second place belonged to the first-generation iPad Mini, with 26% growth. Third place belonged to the iPhone 5c, with 26% growth, which outpaced the iPhone 5s' sales growth of 15% (perhaps the not-so-cheap iPhone 5c was a smart move after all).

The bigger picture
As competition intensifies, the main bear case against Apple usually cites the law of large numbers as an inevitable problem. Apple can't hoard such a large portion of industry profits much longer, the argument goes. But this little tidbit from Localytics suggests otherwise. Apple is still on consumers' A-list, it seems -- at least when it comes to tablets and smartphones, Apple's two largest business segments.

Zooming out even further, sales trends seem to confirm that demand for Apple's products is as high as ever. The company just established new iPhone sales records for the fourth quarter. And going into the first quarter of fiscal 2014, Apple has guided for its highest revenue quarter ever.

As a shareholder myself, this new information from Localytics is a small piece of data that confirms my belief that investors have overestimated how quickly intensified competition will degrade Apple's prospects.

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