Will Apple Holiday Sales Hit the Mark?

This holiday season has been served up with an extra helping of discounts. Black Friday and Cyber Monday incentives for big-ticket gifts were never better and retailers and manufacturers are all but giving away products in order to keep sales figures and market share up as budget-conscious consumers head through the holiday season.

Among a myriad of deals and discounts aimed at keeping its fourth-quarter figures looking good, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) slashed the price of the iPhone 5, the iPhone 4S, and the third-generation iPad just in time for Christmas upgrades. Customers looking for a deal can grab an iPhone 5 for just $127 or an iPhone 4S for $47 using an upgrade or with a new 2-year contract. The price on the third-generation iPad has been cut by $100.

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Anyone watching Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock price recognizes the importance of its fourth-quarter performance. iPhone 5 sales are expected to hit 45 million by the end of the year, but some expect that Apple could see up to a 20 percent dip in total sales numbers. That kind of news could pull all the remaining bears out of hibernation and add selling pressure to a stock that is currently suffering.

Discounts seem to be the key that opens consumers’ wallets. Price is everything, and taking a hit to the bottom line in order to increase sales has become standard protocol. Wal-Mart understands this in relation to its competition with Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). The discounted iPhone is a one-up that will help increase sales figures for the brick-and-mortar retailer in a year in which e-commerce has set records. Amazon is infamous for cutting prices to gain market share (e-books, anyone?), and it wouldn’t be surprising to see this strategy duplicated by smartphone manufacturers…