Premium-priced MacBook Pros top sales at Apple retail stores

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Despite repeated calls from industry watchers for Apple to cut prices on its computer line, a new study reveals that sales of the company's premium-priced MacBook Pros are topping all other Macs at the majority of U.S.-based Apple stores.



An independent survey of the brick-and-mortar shops conducted by The Channel Checkers this past week found that 73%, or nearly three-fourths of the stores polled, reported that their best selling Mac this month was the MacBook Pro, which ranges in price from $2000 to $2800.



Only four of the fifteen stores questioned identified a system other than the MacBook Pro as their top seller, namely one in Houston that cited the aluminum 13-inch MacBook and another in New York City that pointed to the 2.66GHz iMac.



Two other stores, one in Jacksonville and the other in Sherman Oaks, said the MacBook Air and Mac Pro were their top sellers this month, respectively, but those same stores were the only two who said they were offering customers Mac discounts, and likely on those particular products.



Asked whether Mac sales were up during the month of February, 33% of stores said yes while the others said no. However, with 87% of stores doing nothing price-wise to compel consumers into buy a new Mac, Channel Checkers concluded that demand for Macs remains strong enough to support Apple's premium pricing model.



"Apple products are selling more slowly in February," the firm said. "However, despite the slower sales, demand remains strong enough that Apple does not need to discount products on a wide scale basis."



These findings arrive in the face of incessant concerns from Wall Street analysts and other industry watchers over the price of Macs, including Calyon Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi, who on Tuesday downgraded shares of Apple to underperform (sell) from outperform (buy) on the belief that the company's "premium-pricing model is vulnerable in today's recessionary environment."



The analyst's report came just hours after the aforementioned survey provided evidence that sales at Apple's retail stores are shifting to the company's most profitable products. Outside the Mac Pro, Apple's MacBook Pros generate the heftiest of Mac profit margins, suggesting the Cupertino-based company could make up in revenues some of what it loses in unit sales during the traditionally subdued March quarter.



Meanwhile, many of the company's largest resellers continue to take advantage of the MacBook Pro's higher margins by slashing the prices of the high-end notebooks by up to $270, as can be seen in our Mac Pricing Guide. This pushes additional units at no added expense to the Mac maker.







Apple doesn't seem to mind the friendly competition, either, with chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer recently saying he was pleased with the performance of the company's retail chain over the recent holiday quarter despite increased discounting and bundling from third-party Apple resellers.



While the shift towards MacBook Pro sales doesn't ring true for all of Apple's sales channels, independent checks by AppleInsider found that the 2.4GHz MacBook Pro is handily outselling the 2.4GHz MacBook this quarter as a close second to the top-selling 2.0GHz aluminum MacBook.



Piper Jaffray, a firm that analyzes monthly retail sales data from market research group NPD, recently crunched figures for the month of January and estimated that Apple would sell 2 to 2.2 million systems during the three-month period ending March, representing a mere 6 percent decline from the year-ago quarter.



"We believe this data will be perceived as a neutral or a slight positive given the uncertainty surrounding the [March] quarter," he said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    "Are sales up or down?" Yes/No.



    That makes no sense, I assume Yes is up and No is down?



    I'm not surprised the MPB is selling the best right now, isn't that the only model that has been updated lately while most others have been languishing for months?
  • Reply 2 of 47
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,430moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    While the shift towards MacBook Pro sales doesn't ring true for all of Apple's sales channels, independent checks by AppleInsider found that the 2.4GHz MacBook Pro is handily outselling the 2.4GHz MacBook this quarter as a close second to the top-selling 2.0GHz aluminum MacBook.



    This isn't surprising in the least. When people buy computers, they buy for value and the only model Apple sells that is worth the money is the Macbook Pro.



    Good screen (despite glossy only), Firewire 800, Expresscard, easy upgrades for Ram, HD and battery, solid unibody design, excellent graphics performance. In terms of design, I'd say it's pretty near to being a perfect laptop.



    The Mini is far too old now that it's terrible value. If you are spending £1000 or so, you'd be better getting a MBP than an iMac. What's the sense in buying an iMac for £1000+ when a cheap PC tower that is double the speed is half the price? The MBP is at least comparable to other laptops and comes out on top for value.



    The Macbook has no firewire and a lower quality screen and slower graphics. Now that they made the aluminum model so expensive, it's not such a jump to go to the Pro.



    I used a unibody MBP recently and I think it's a great machine but the room it was in had some bright overhead lights and the glare was blinding. If they make a matte 15" model and I was looking for a laptop, I wouldn't hesitate buying one - I'd probably wait for a refurb though.
  • Reply 3 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post


    "Are sales up or down?" Yes/No.



    That makes no sense, I assume Yes is up and No is down?



    I'm not surprised the MPB is selling the best right now, isn't that the only model that has been updated lately while most others have been languishing for months?



    Haha, the first thing I noticed too. I suppose in the Jobs distortion field it's Yes, sales are up or No sales are not down



    Also concur on the sales, the items that are newest are selling the most, no shocker there.
  • Reply 4 of 47
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post


    "Are sales up or down?" Yes/No.



    That makes no sense, I assume Yes is up and No is down?



    I'm not surprised the MPB is selling the best right now, isn't that the only model that has been updated lately while most others have been languishing for months?



    Fixed. Was meant to say "Are Mac sales up in February?"



    K
  • Reply 5 of 47
    irelandireland Posts: 17,737member
    The screens on those consumer MacBooks are so bad this is not a surprise. I love my Air.
  • Reply 6 of 47
    hattighattig Posts: 858member
    Maybe if Apple actually released updates for their other computers, they would sell better!



    I'm not asking for full redesigns every 4 months, but if they're keeping the price the same, they need to do gentle specification bumps every so often, when Intel passes on a price cut or new CPU release, or the graphics chip is mildly updated, or RAM drops in price, or hard drive capacity grows for the same price. Keep the base platform the same - chipset, case design, etc - just bump to stay competitive.



    Then when you do the chipset or case design bump, you can do it when appropriate, instead of to a fixed calendar (yearly, etc).



    I must say that Safari 4 on my old iBook screams. The only problem is UI element scaling when you are zooming, but I am on Tiger still. Actually, maybe if I send a bug report now ...
  • Reply 7 of 47
    well it's official. recession over.



    thanks apple.
  • Reply 8 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post


    "Are sales up or down?" Yes/No.



    That makes no sense, I assume Yes is up and No is down?



    If you read carefully, Yes means that sales are "up or down", and No means they are not ? meaning they are equal to whatever they are comparing to. I don't think that's what they ment though...
  • Reply 9 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    The screens on those consumer MacBooks are so bad this is not a surprise. I love my Air.



    I concur. The Macbook panels are almost as bad as the previous gen. Macbook panels. Otherwise I would probably own one. It's too bad that most people don't notice the difference, but for me the difference is striking. The Macbook Air is better, but too it's too bright. The MBP screen is great, but I'd much better prefer a smaller, lighter, cooler running, and cheaper Macbook, if not for the screen issues. I'm currently looking at netbooks..
  • Reply 10 of 47
    How much of this data can be trusted?



    After all, I doubt that Apple allows it's managers to talk to random people walking into stores asking about data. And the store crew aren't going to know much more than what they and some of their co-workers have sold.
  • Reply 11 of 47
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macless View Post


    I concur. The Macbook panels are almost as bad as the previous gen. Macbook panels. Otherwise I would probably own one. It's too bad that most people don't notice the difference, but for me the difference is striking. The Macbook Air is better, but too it's too bright. The MBP screen is great, but I'd much better prefer a smaller, lighter, cooler running, and cheaper Macbook, if not for the screen issues. I'm currently looking at netbooks..



    Yeah a 13" MacBook Pro (i.e. just drop in the Air's screen) would be ideal. I would pay the premium!
  • Reply 12 of 47
    Mac Pro's top selling model at a store? That must have been some promotion!



    I've heard some confusion over Mac models likely sales figures after the 70% notebooks headline came out. Here's my uninformed guess as to how they break down in general:





    Model........%



    MacBook.....30

    MacBook Pro 25

    MacBook Air 15



    iMac........20

    Mac Mini.....5

    Mac Pro......5



    {Dots for spacing as apparently repeat spaces are automatically stripped from comments.)





    Like I said: mere guesses of the % of total Macs sold. Notebooks come to 70 and desktops to 30.



    Note that all three lines of Mac notebook seem to sell very strongly. The MacBook Air was the top seller online at the UK Apple Store for most of last year. The Unibody overhaul clearly helped the MacBook and MacBook Pro out back in the autumn.



    It's my guess that the iMac outsells the Mac Pro at 3 or 4 to 1. The iMac ? despite being long due an update ? is Apple's desktop flagship and an iconic machine with good exposure in any Apple retail environment. The Mini is stuck in a niche, especially as it's so horribly outdated. And the Pro ? the Pro is the Pro. Top dollar, power users only, bring your own professional software suite along for the ride.



    That's why it amazed me the Mac Pro would be the top seller anywhere. Anyway, I'll stop pulling numbers out of dark places and pretending to be an analyst now?
  • Reply 13 of 47
    Well, I was one of those people that bought a Macbook Pro 15" in February. It really is an outstanding machine, and the complaints about the glossy screen (just my experience) are overblown...I even calibrated it and the color matches just fine with the professional lab I use. The trackpad is the nicest I've ever used on a laptop, and the keyboard is improved from the previous generation. The machine just oozes quality compared to the previous generation white Macbook I owned (which I thought was more shabbily built and did have a pretty crappy glossy screen).



    I don't know how well Apple will manage through the recession, as times are very tough out there, but they did right by the unibody Macbook Pro line.
  • Reply 14 of 47
    Well, those are the only models they've updated recdently, of course they are selling well. It's a good product. Mac Pros will sell well when they (finally) update them. Same with the iMac.
  • Reply 15 of 47
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,511member
    Once again... I'm thankful that Apple does not listen to the whiners complaining about how Apple is ruining everything. It seems that perhaps they know better than you do on how to run a business.



    If they listened to you, they would have been out of business.



    Back to your parent's basements all of you!!
  • Reply 16 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    If they listened to you, they would have been out of business.



    Or they would have been selling a lot more iMacs, Mac Minis and Mac Pros...
  • Reply 17 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by winterspan View Post


    Or they would have been selling a lot more iMacs, Mac Minis and Mac Pros...



    Or, equally plausibly, maybe not.
  • Reply 18 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    The screens on those consumer MacBooks are so bad this is not a surprise. I love my Air.







    REALLY?



    I seem to remember you lambasting it to hell and back.
  • Reply 19 of 47
    The Air display is better than the new unibody MacBook's display.
  • Reply 20 of 47
    This can be seen one of two ways and each on the different end of the spectrum.



    1) Macbook Pros are selling very strongly.

    2) Macbook sales have dropped off to a point where the Macbook Pro sales have caught up.
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