“A very interesting statistic came out of Apple Computer’s earnings call on Apr. 19. And it wasn’t just that sales were up by more than $1 billion, that profit rose 41%, or that in the first half of fiscal 2006, Apple generated more than $10 billion in revenue,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek. “No. To me, the most compelling figure nestled among comments by CFO Peter Oppenheimer was that 50% of people buying Macs in Apple retail stores are classified as ‘new to Mac,’ meaning they have not owned a Mac before, and to at least some sizable extent may be switching over from Windows. This is going to become increasingly important for Apple in the next few quarters, particularly in the latter half of this year and into 2007.”
“The retail division was responsible for 154,000 Mac sales in the quarter, which means that if the ‘new to Mac’ stat is accurate (and for the sake of healthy skepticism, I would really like to know how Apple counts these people), some 77,000 people bought their first Macs in the most recent quarter. Allow me to extrapolate a little further, based on the retail results of other recent quarters. Let’s say Mac retail sales are flat to slightly higher each quarter this year from last year. And if the 50% “new-to-Mac” statistic holds steady, then we could see somewhere in the ballpark of 400,000 to a half-million new Mac owners this year in the Apple retail segment alone,” Hesseldahl writes. “And surely that can’t account for all of the consumers who count as ‘new to the Mac.’ Analyst Charles Wolf of Needham and Co. in New York late last year forecasted that there could be something on the order of 1.3 million people ‘switching’ from Windows to Mac this year. That number may be a little low.”
“Apple’s recent addition of Boot Camp — provided its Beta-testing period is successful and there are no significant problems — will only help close the deal with other potential switchers,” Hesseldahl writes. “If there are any lingering doubts in the minds of many using Windows now who are intrigued by the Mac, Boot Camp will go a long way toward erasing them. This could cause an interesting groundswell of new Mac buyers as Apple continues to fill out its Intel-based product lineup. Still in the pipeline is an Intel-based consumer-grade notebook to succeed the current iBook model, and an Intel-based successor to the professional-grade PowerMac G5… This all adds up to the potential for a pretty healthy year in Mac sales — to switchers and Mac devotees alike.”
More in the full article here.
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