Mac Sales Up 18 Percent Over Holidays Per NPD

Posted by at 11:06 am on January 18, 2011

Analysts at the NPD Group are showing year-over-year Mac sales for the holiday season were up 18 percent. The figures, which do not include iOS devices, were revealed by analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, are expected to push Apple past the four million Macs per quarter mark, with NPD predicting 4.3 million Macs sold in the last three months of 2010.

The introduction of the redesigned MacBook Air models may have played a big role in the increase in Mac sales, having been well-received by consumers. International Mac sales are also growing at a faster clip than US sales, a positive sign for the company to meet or beat analyst expectations of a total 24 percent year-over-year sales growth. Apple sold a record 3.89 million Macs in the fourth quarter.

NPD’s figures, Munster noted, are sometimes conservative compared to the final official numbers as reported by Apple. For example, in Q4 2010 NDP predicted 22 percent growth, but in fact the company reported 27 percent growth in Mac sales. Though overdue for a major update in his view, Munster predicted Apple would sell 1.2 million iMacs and about 500,000 of the new MacBook Airs.

Munster also weighed in today on the news of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ latest medical leave from the company, saying in an email to clients that while he expects shares to drop on the news, the company’s strong management team and COO Tim Cook’s previous experience in running the company during previous medical leaves should limit fallout. ““I can’t share any numbers about impact to the stock,” Munster said, “but can say that, given this is the third time we have been through this, the impact to shares becomes less each time.” He added that “Since Jobs is not stepping down as CEO, we believe Jobs expects the leave to be shorter and/or less serious than his previous leave.”

Apple will report Q1 earnings and sales tomorrow afternoon.

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