iPad Smokes Microsoft Surface but Windows 8 Laptops a Big Hit On Black Friday

The Microsoft brass probably didn’t get a lot of sleep on Thanksgiving night, instead laying awake and wondering how Black Friday sales of its Windows 8 computers and Surface tablets were going to fare, as the shopping holiday was the first real test outside of launch day for Microsoft’s new fleet of products.

The result appears to be a mixed bag, at least anecdotally. On the one hand, according to GeekWire, Walmart sold out of several of its Windows 8 laptops by the time the dust had settled on Black Friday; a reader in Indiana sent in a photo of HP, Gateway, and Toshiba laptops ranging in price from $248 to $328 with “sold out” signs stuck to them. (Holy smoke, those are some inexpensive laptops.)

Walmart Windows 8
Source: Geekwire

On the other hand, according to Fortune, a team from Piper Jaffray camped out between the Apple Store and Microsoft Store which face each other (ah, poetry in retail) at the Mall of America in Minneapolis to count heads. They found that the Apple Store had 47% more foot traffic than the Microsoft Store, and the rate of purchases were 17.2 items per hour at the former and 3.5 at the latter. Almost all of the Microsoft buys were Xbox games.

Piper Jaffray sales
Source: GeekWire

To put the Mall of America head-to-head in stark relief, Apple sold 11 iPads per hour while the Microsoft Store didn’t move a single Surface tablet. It’s important to note that the Piper Jaffray squad only directly observed the Microsoft Store for two hours, so the data is only mildly compelling, but the rate of iPad sales is still significant.

These numbers aren’t exactly hard sales figures, but it’s interesting to get a glimpse into how Microsoft’s new products are doing. It makes sense that low-cost computers would move in volume, whether they had Windows 8 or Windows Vista on board, and it’s not terribly surprising that the iPad (6.7 per hour) continued its dominance and the iPad mini (4.3 per hour) intrigued buyers more than the Surface tablet. Perhaps if Microsoft worked the Surface’s price down to $499 including a Touch or Type keyboard, the story would be different.