An analyst monitoring the holiday sales says the iPad is becoming 'the Mac of the masses.'
Several Wall Street analysts spent at least part of Thanksgiving weekend keeping an eye on Apple (AAPL) sales and inventory levels.
The team led by Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore ran the most extensive survey, calling on more than 100 Apple retail stores and 50 resellers, eliciting comments such as "iPads are still selling like crazy," and "the 11 inch MacBook Air has been flying off the shelves."
But the most useful report comes from Gene Munster's team at Piper Jaffray, which seems to be the only one that bothered to count sales. From a total of seven person-hours spent in a variety of Apple stores, Munster's team found:
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- Macs were leaving the stores at the rate of 8.2 units per hour per store, down from 8.3 last year and 13 two years ago. "While Mac sales were flat y/y," he writes, "we believe it is too early to make a call on Macs in the Dec. quarter. Note that Mac NPD data in the first month of the quarter (Oct.) was up 20% y/y."
- iPads were walking out of the stores at an even faster rate -- 8.8 units per hour. There are no other Black Friday iPad sales to compare with, of course, but Munster believes these numbers are in line with his (relatively modest) prediction that Apple will sell 5.5 million iPads this quarter.
- "Most notable in our observations," he writes, "we noticed that the iPad is gaining traction (driven by lower price vs. the Mac) among demographics in which the Mac has historically not been successful. The bottom line is that Apple's addressable market is expanding with the iPad.
The iPad, Munster concludes, is becoming "the Mac of the masses."
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]