Black Friday? How About 'Mac' Friday!


Apple hosted an unusual one-day sale to usher in the holiday shopping season; rather unusual for a company that prides itself on pricing strength.

But nonetheless, it's a move that appears to be paying off as the company tries to establish itself as this year's big winner.

Piper Jaffray for one thinks that Apple's strategy will pay off. The firm expects the company to sell 25 million iPods this quarter compared to the 21 million units sold during the same period last year.

And new data out this morning seems to indicate that Apple is well on its way. The firm reports that Nano sales on Friday accounted for 46% of iPods sold. Piper was modeling something closer to 38%.

The iPod Classic made up 19% of iPod sales. Piper modeled 9%. The iPod Touch made up 16%, right in line with expectations.

The surprise might be in the iPod Shuffle. Sales of that product accounted for 19% of the mix. Piper had modeled 38%. It's a surprise since that's the low-end product. And that's good news for Apple shareholders since customers seem to be more interested in the higher-priced, higher-margin Apple devices.

Mac sales averaged 5.3 units an hour, compared to 4.3 an hour during the 50 hours the company tracked in August. And iPhone sales slowed to 1 unit an hour versus the 1.3 an hour during that same 50 hours in August.

Analyst Gene Munster called traffic to Apple's retail stores "almost comical," saying there was almost this invisible "tractor beam" on customers, pulling them into stores. He reports that at the malls he was watching, 27% of the people walking within 25 feet of an Apple store entrance entered the store; 462 people an hour on Black Friday.

Other big winners? GPS devices, which should come as no surprise, since I detailed how significant this category would be in a post on October 1. That's good news for Garmin and Nokia, with Nokia buying NavTeq last month in what could be a stroke of genius. Amazon's new electronic book reader "Kindle" has apparently sold out, and the same goes for Microsoft's 80gig version of the Zune media player.

Deutsche Bank raised its rating on the glassmaker Corning thanks to what it anticipates as better-than-expected sales of LCD televisions this holiday season.

There's enormous interest in the game console battle, with widespread reports of further Nintendo Wii system shortages. "Every single one we get in, we sell within an hour or two, but if you're persistent, you'll get them. We're getting multiple shipments throughout the holiday season. We will have more than we had last season, but they still sell out," says Gerald Storch, Toys 'R Us CEO.

That could bode well for Microsoft since the xBox 360 is the likely second choice for disappointed Wii shoppers.

Price cuts seem to be helping Sony's PlayStation 3, but if it doesn't perform, its slagging sales could also hurt the Blu-ray DVD movement. Still awaiting any kind of data on Blu-ray vs. HD DVD sales. Should have something later in the week, though a rep from Best Buy was on our air this morning saying dual-platform players sold briskly this weekend.

All in all, with the National Retail Federation reporting a 4.8% sales jump, ShopperTrak reporting a big 8.3% increase, and comScore reporting a 22% increase in online sales on Black Friday, this seems to be a good start, with consumer electronics leading the way -- and consumer electronics investors hoping the momentum continues right up until Dec. 24th.

Questions? Comments?