MacBook Air Not Selling All That Well

But definition of "well enough" up for grabs

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Only Apple knows exactly how many MacBook Airs it expected to sell, and thus, only Apple knows whether current figures are disappointing.  Still, new findings suggest that people are doing more looking than buying, and that by year’s end, transactions involving the Air will account for only 16 percent of Mac sales.

So place your bets, people – will Apple and its investors find this acceptable?  The 16 percent stat comes from Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, so although he talked to just 20 resellers, it’ll be somewhat hard to refute.  Also, Munster added that about 60 percent of those resellers are seeing less initial demand for the Air than they did forMacBook Air Not Selling All That Well the 13-inch MacBooks two years ago.

On the other hand, everyone (see the 176 comments on Katie Marsal‘s article) can recognize that the Air is expensive, and Apple couldn’t have expected people to choose small computers over their mortgage payments.  Furthermore, the iPhone price cut probably made some folks cautious, and sales of the Air could still take off.

The stock market currently appears to agree with this second line of thinking; Apple is down 0.66 percent at the moment, but the Dow is down 0.88 percent and the Nasdaq has dropped a full 1.04 percent.  All without any statements from Apple, by the way, so no damage control has taken place.

In related news, Walt Mossberg has been eyeing Lenovo’s ThinkPad X300, which appears to have some advantages over (and shortcomings against) the Air.

MacBook Air Not Selling All That Well
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  • Someone

     Let’s see:

    - Apple has three lines of desktop: mini, iMac, and Mac Pro

    - Apple has three ‘lines’ of portables: MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air

    In total, that is six product lines. The MacBook air is a niche product, so I expect it to sell for less than its share. That definitely is the case in units, but in dollars and euros, I would guess getting 1 in 6 would not be too bad, either.

    Moreover, that 16% in dollars of sales may be more in margins.

  • Guest

    I’d be shocked if the Air accounted for anywhere near 16% of Mac sales.   I’d be shocked if it even accounted for 16% of Mac NOTEBOOK sales.  Even that would be a great success for Apple.  The Macbook is supposed to appeal to a very large number of users and it is much cheaper and even more powerful than the Macbook Air.  If even 10% of Mac notebooks sold were Macbook Air, I’d think that would be a good result.  I doubt that will be the case.  The Air might draw people in the store who wind up with a Macbook Pro or Macbook, and that’s not so bad for Apple either.


  • Guest

     um…. 1/6 = 16.7%  How much better do you want it to do?  Do you want a subnotebook to somehow outsell the iMac or something?  Or perhaps you are of the belief that *all* mac models should somehow miraculously be 100% of sales?

  • jbelkin

    First, his analysis does not include Apple, Amazon nor overseas sales. That’s like measuring auto sales but not measuring authorized dealers. Apple barely started shipping and as others point out, it’s not the mini first release or an imac release where you expect most sales in that category to be that item. This is like saying the airport extreme is not seling well … um, compared to what?



    what were apple sales last quarter for the ultra portable line?



    What is it this quarter? Much more than zero.

    Now, if it were canabalizing sales from another Mac to some obviosu degree? Apple was smart enough to make it much more than the MacBook and much less featured than the Pro but slightly less … Apple are not idiots.


    Last quarter many were all convinced the iphone wouldn’t reach numbers or that the ipod wouldn’t sell 12 million units – both pass targets they set.


  • Guest

     At Apple’s web store, the MacBook Air is listed as the #1 selling Mac product,

    above MacBooks, MacBook Pro’s, imacs, and mac pro’s…which doesn’t sound like disappointing sales to me. At many other locations, it is not even available(like Amazon and even Apple’s own stores).

  • Adam

    The Macbook Air is a niche product.  Actually it may be as much a test bed for new product concepts as it is anything else.  Who remembers USB before the original iMac?  No one, it wasn’t out there.  How about built in Wifi before the iBook?  Backlit keyboards standard before the Aluminum Powerbook? Innovation and new technology adoption are some of the things Apple does better than anyone else.  The question for the Air is how good are sales for the its niche?  

    Apple is down less than the markets in general.  And the closing comment is "All without any statements from Apple, by the way, so no damage control has taken place."

    Why would there be damage control?  I don’t see anything damaging in this article? "Damage control" would indicate that there is something to actually worry about.  It would be like cutting off your finger to prevent gangrene because you got a paper cut.  As a stockholder, I would be furious if there were "damage control" when there’s no damage.

  • Guest

    Frankly, the Air is doing it’s job…. People want to see it….touch it…. Its bringing people INTO Apple’s stores…..creating attention. Once in there, people are welcomed and given attention. Once there, people notice that there is a slightly heavier laptop, that is nearly half it’s price next to it, and another laptop with more features…..for only about $200 more on the other side of the Air. People notice things they never noticed before….and another HALO effect occurs much like the iPod’s halo effect…..people notice the superiority of the software and hardware and make a choice….

  • Guest

    As others have pointed out, I sincerely doubt the MacBook Air accounts for anything close to 16% of Mac sales.  If it accounted for just 16% of Mac notebook sales, it would be considered a rousing success.  The MacBook Air is aimed at a specific sub-group (hard-core road warriors) of a niche market (notebook buyers).  Why do so-called analysts think every new model has to sell 5 million units the first month to be successful?  The computer, and in particular the notebook, market is saturated.  With the Air, Apple has opened up a new market segment that did not exist before.  No one will be replacing their primary Mac with the Air.  I expect it will cut into the MacBook’s market share somewhat and appeal to travelers who needed something this compact and lightweight, but had to "settle" for a MacBook because nothing else was available.  But I suspect the majority of buyers will be people who would not otherwise have purchased anything.

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