Will Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) see a major benefit this holiday shopping season from a growing consumer demand for tablets? In a recent note to investors obtained by Barron’s, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White cited a Consumer Electronics Association Pre-Black Friday Survey that found that, “31 percent of U.S. adult shoppers plan to purchase consumer electronics over the weekend.” Among the consumer electronics shoppers, “the most sought after item is expected to be tablet computers at 30 percent,” noted White.
Apple released its latest flagship tablet, the iPad Air, on November 1. With a weight of just one pound, the 9.7-inch iPad Air is Apple’s lightest iPad to date. As noted by Apple, “the iPad Air is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth generation iPad.” Apple recently announced that Black Friday shoppers in the U.S. who purchase an iPad Air will receive a $75 Apple Store gift card.
Apple also released the 7.9-inch iPad mini with Retina Display on November 12 and both tablets are expected to attract many buyers over the Black Friday shopping weekend. However, due to high demand and limited supplies, Apple’s latest compact tablet does not come with a gift card discount.
According to the CEA survey cited by White, shoppers won’t just be looking for tablets this weekend. As noted by White, 29 percent of consumer electronics shoppers will be looking for a laptop computer. Apple will also likely attract many laptop buyers, since the company is offering a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.
“Apple will be tough to compete with this holiday and consumers face the difficult choice over which new innovation to purchase,” wrote the analyst via Barron’s. Besides expecting strong sales from Apple’s tablet and laptop product lines, White also noted the “recent introduction of the iPhone 5S” as a tailwind for the company’s holiday shopping season. Apple’s decision to replace its traditional Black Friday discounts with Apple Store gift cards this year will also likely help the company retain more profits this weekend.
The California-based iPhone maker usually sees higher retail sales during the December quarter, especially after new product releases. In Apple’s recent fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer noted that the average revenue per store in the September quarter “was 10.9 million” and that Apple Stores received about “18,500 visitors per store per week.”
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