Show of hands - who out there is drinking the Apple
flavored Kool-Aid? If everyone's being honest, then look around and you'll likely see a lot of limbs flailing about, and certainly a good number more than if we would have asked this question one year ago. Why is that? According to market research firm NPD, retail sales of Mac
computers in the month of February jumped 43 percent for the month.
A one-time anomaly? Not likely. Similarly strong sales were also noted in January, in which the NPD group says Mac sales skyrocketed by 36 percent. Put the two months together and Apple's selling nearly 40 percent more Macs than it did to begin 2009.
To be fair, it's not as though Apple should have any trouble outpacing early 2009 figures. In January and February of 2009, Mac sales declined 6 percent and 16 percent, respectively, which was the first time in nearly six years
that Apple reported a year-to-year drop-off in Mac sales. But even if we dismiss last year's dismal sales as a yardstick, Apple still stands to sell between 2.8 million and 2.9 million Macs in the March quarter, a tick above Wall Street's expectation of 2.7 million units.
"Ever since the refresh of the MacBook Pros last year, they've done well,
" said Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD.
'Doing well' might be an understatement, at least according to Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray, who recently dubbed 2010 the "Year of the Mac.
So why such a dramatic turnaround compared to last year? Part of the answer is that the entire PC market is on an upswing. According to IDC, steeply discounted PCs and improving economic conditions are paving the way
for double-digit growth in 2010. And even though price drops aren't exactly in Apple's DNA, Baker says consumers are seeking out lower-priced units, such as the $999 MacBook
and $1,199 MacBook Pro
(the lowest priced MacBook Pro available).
"It's been a good platform,
" Baker said. "I'm not sure why it's selling better [than the previous desktop], but then, the entire PC market is doing extremely well right now.
On a related note, Apple iPod
sales are also up from last year to the tune of 10 percent, and up 7 percent in the first two months of 2010 compared to the same time frame in 2009.
So we ask again - who among you is drinking the Apple flavored Kool-Aid?