Consumers are showing that the global financial crisis is dulling their appetites for premium information technology products with sales
of Apple computers in the US flatlining last month.
Instead, PC buyers opted for cheaper Windows-powered devices, pushing
purchases of machines running the Microsoft operating system up 7 per
cent year-on-year in November, according to market researcher NPD
The shifting spend in part reflected Apple's reluctance to discount
heavily in the lead up to Christmas despite rapidly deteriorating
consumer sentiment that has led many IT vendors to slash earnings
It raised eyebrows yesterday when it announced chief executive Steve
Jobs, whose health remains a subject of constant speculation, would
not deliver his traditional keynote speech at the Macworld computer
conference in January. It also said 2009 would be the last time Apple
would appear at the event.
Mr Jobs's absence from Macworld led to speculation the company had no
major product announcements with which to kick off the new year - a
potential problem for the vendor. NPD analyst Steve Baker said that
the computer maker's ageing range of desktop Macs was a major drag on
its November performance.
Last month, desktop Mac sales slumped 38 per cent year-on-year
compared to a 15 per cent decline in sales of Windows machines. Apple
laptop sales were up 22 per cent year-on-year, as against a 15 per
cent rise in sales of mobile computers loaded with Microsoft's
The weak performance from Apple Macs compared to Windows computers in
November closely followed a downgrade of Apple by Goldman Sachs
analyst David Bailey, who on Monday cut the stock from "buy" to
"neutral" amid fears soft spending would hurt earnings.
"Some nicks have started to emerge," Mr Bailey wrote in a research report.
Before November, many observers had thought Apple was better placed to
ride out the economic storm than many of its rivals, but investors
have grown wary of the stock, which is trading down 50 per cent over
The trendy electronics maker is not the only technology company
suffering as shoppers around the world tighten purse strings.
The decline in desktop computer sales in November backed recent
forecasts from market researcher IDC that global PC sales will fall as
much as 5.3 per cent to $US267 billion ($386 billion) during 2009.
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