If demand for the iPad truly is waning, as some have argued, you wouldn’t know it from the Black Friday foot traffic at Apple’s retail stores this past weekend.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster surveyed a few Apple stores on Black Friday and found that iPad sales per hour were 68 percent higher than they were a year ago. On average, the stores Munster visited sold about 14.8 iPads per hour, up from 8.8 iPads per hour last year, more than enough to support the analyst’s projection of 13.5 million iPads sold in the December quarter.
iPad sell-through remains “strong,” said Munster.
Over at Deutsche Bank, analyst Chris Whitmore reached a similar conclusion after checking in with more than 100 Apple retail stores and another 100 or so carrier outlets and big-box retailers. “iPad demand continues to be robust, driven by significant consumer interest in the device,” Whitmore said in a research note to clients. “Our checks indicated the iPad was a popular item on many consumers’ shopping lists over the weekend.”
While demand for the iPad was high across all models, Whitmore found it to be highest for the 32GB version with 3G, which evidently hits the sweet spot storage-wise. Also in high demand, AT&T 3G models which, unlike their Verizon counterparts, can be used internationally.
Like Munster, Whitmore came away from his Black Friday checks convinced iPad sales are tracking roughly in line with his estimate: 14 million for the December quarter.