Apple sales to rise

19 December 2011

CUPERTINO: Consumers are still displaying a strong interest in buying Apple's iPhone and iPad devices, meaning the firm's ascendancy in the smartphone and tablet sectors is likely to continue.

A proprietary survey conducted by Morgan Stanley suggested that between 31m and 36m iPhones would be sold in the final quarter of 2011 in the US.

This total beat the finance group's own 30m forecast and outstripped the 28m average delivered by numerous Wall Street analysts assessed by Morgan Stanley.

Looking to 2012, the poll suggested 41m iPhones would be purchased during the first quarter, roughly 13m units over Morgan Stanley's projections, and 15m up on wider expectations.

Across the whole year, estimates based on the shopper panel results pointed to 190m iPhones being purchased, some 56m more than Morgan Stanley's model, and 63m ahead of the Wall Street norm.

Katy Huberty, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, argued it was "surprising" that demand among US consumers in particular, would be greater in the first quarter of 2012 than the Christmas period.

The finding that was "perhaps most surprising", however, related to the company's iPad2 tablet PC, according to her study.

Overall, Morgan Stanley's survey reported that 8% of American consumers currently own a tablet, and the poll showed 27% planned to buy one.

As a consequence, even if Apple were forced to surrender a 4% market share to Amazon's recently launched Kindle Fire - a figure Huberty regarded as realistic - it would still sell 81m iPads globally in 2012.

Morgan Stanley's in-house figures pegged this total at 52m devices, with 20m being purchased in the US and 32m in overseas markets.

"A cheaper iPad could significantly increase demand, mostly from new adopters," Huberty added. "If Apple lowered the price of the cheapest iPad 2 by $100, 9% of respondents indicated they are very likely to purchase it, boosting overall US demand by 22m units."

Data sourced from Fortune/Barron's; additional content by Warc staff