Analyst: Apple to concede Mac unit sales shrinkage, but the worst is over

“Apple Inc. on Wednesday will report that it sold fewer Macs in the first quarter of 2009 than it did in the same period a year earlier, marking the first time in nearly six years that the company will have acknowledged a sales slide, a Wall Street analyst predicted Tuesday,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld.

“When Apple releases earnings figures, Brian Marshall, an analyst at Broadpoint AmTech, expects that the company will report a 5% drop in Mac sales during the year’s first three months compared to the same quarter in 2008,” Keizer reports. “Various analysts have pegged first-quarter 2009 Mac sales at the same general level, from 2.1 million to 2.2 million machines. In 2008’s first quarter, Apple sold nearly 2.3 million Mac laptops and desktops.”

MacDailyNews Note: Unit sales drops do not necessarily equal revenue declines.

Keizer continues, “‘My assumption is that international sales will be essentially flat, but that U.S. sales will be down about 10%,’ he said. Apple traditionally posts poor numbers in the first calendar quarter, which comes after the holiday selling season of the year before. In early 2008, for example, Mac sales were off about 1% from 2007’s fourth quarter.”

“The downturn in Mac sales won’t stop anytime soon: Marshall projects that Apple will see a 12% decline in computer sales in the quarter ending June 30,” Keizer reports. “But he is optimistic that the worst is already behind Apple, if not the Mac.”

“‘The first significant event will be [Apple] announcing the iPhone for China,’ Marshall said. ‘That may take place as early as May 17, when China Unicom will turn on its 3G [network]. The next is June 8, the first day of WWDC [the Worldwide Developers Conference], when Apple will launch their new iPhone.’ He expects Apple to sell a 32GB iPhone at $299, a 16GB model for $199 and possibly an 8GB device for $99,” Keizer reports.

“Snow Leopard, as the next Mac OS X operating system has been dubbed, will also add some black to the bottom line later this year, Marshall said. ‘Snow Leopard will positively affect their bottom line. A couple of million units, and that’s nearly all profit,’ he predicted. Marshall has a ‘buy’ recommendation for Apple’s stock and has bumped up his target price to $135 a share,” Keizer reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: One would assume the recession will have had some effect on Apple’s unit sales. No surprise there. We’ll see how Apple’s actually performed later today when they release results after market close.

And, oh, by the way, for those who continually and irritatingly call for Apple to produce a low-cost “netbook” to “compete” with all of the other low-cost “netbook” peddlers or who can’t grasp the exceedingly basic concepts of unit sales and profit margins, let’s try this (yet again):

Little Mikey had a lemonade stand. Okay, it was a kiosk. He sold 100 (8 oz.) cups yesterday for 10-cents each. He spent 11-cents per cup for artificial lemon flavoring, corn syrup, and the paper cups. He used tap water because it was free. Threw it all together in a big plastic pail. He’s out a buck for all of his trouble; that was a lot of work for less than nothing. Around the block, little Steve runs a lemonade stand, too. It’s all blond wood and very clean. He sold 50 (24 oz.) glasses yesterday for 50-cents each. He spent 20-cents per glass on fresh-squeezed lemons, pure cane sugar, spring water (mixed with the utmost care), and some nice glassware (he buys in bulk and gets a good price). He took home $15 yesterday. He’s currently building his newest stand right where Mikey’s used to be.

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