Apple Conspicuously Absent from Black Friday, Cyber Monday Deals
Anyone who looked for discounts during the extended Thanksgiving holiday may have noticed that one major company ignored the deal-saving frenzy: Apple (AAPL).
Apple Stores, as well as the company’s e-commerce site, failed to cut prices on Black Friday and have no deals available on Cyber Monday. The move is just the latest example of Apple’s unwillingness to follow a crowd.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are among the two best days for U.S. shoppers to find deals for everything from electronics to toys. Depending on the day and the retailer, customers can usually find steep discounts to get more customers in the door or on their websites.
Apple’s decision against following the pack was telegraphed earlier this month by retail chief Angela Ahrendts. In an interview with Fast Company this month, Ahrendts said that Apple has stopped Black Friday deals as part of its mission to be “good to…employees” and not force them to work the long hours and brave the massive crowds so common on Black Friday. Ahrendts added that she had hoped other retailers would “knock off” the Black Friday tradition, according to a tweet from Fast Company’s Harry McCracken.
Apple declined comment to Fortune for this article.
Of course, for Apple is doing just fine without Black Friday deals. The company generates billions of dollars in quarterly profits, and its retail stores are a sales juggernaut. In March, research firm eMarketer revealed that Apple generated $4,799 in sales per square foot of retail space. Its closest rival, luxury jewelry maker Tiffany & Co. (TIF), could only muster $3,132 per square foot. Those figures seem to clearly show the company doesn’t really need to offer deals on special holidays.
“The company sells premium products, differentiated by their design, ease-of-use, and social,” says Yory Wurmser, retail analyst at eMarketer. “Apple doesn’t compete on price and rarely discounts. When it does, it has a specific purpose, such as the Apple trade-in program.”
Still, Apple’s decision to detour from tradition is relatively new. Just a couple of years ago, the company put small mark downs on some of its products including Macs, iPods and other devices for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, in lieu of those discounts, Apple donated a portion of its retail revenue on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to World AIDS Day 2014. Apple also offered up some free iTunes gift cards with the purchase of its products.
Despite this year’s Black Friday boycott, Apple didn’t force its retail partners to follow its lead. Indeed, many of the top U.S. retailers including Best Buy (BBY), Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), and others, are all cutting prices on Apple devices. Shoppers will find iMacs at $150 off, iPads with 15% discounts, and iPhones boasting small rebates through Monday.
“Apple has a fair amount of leverage over retailers and is letting retailers cut into their own margins to sell more iPhones and iPads,” Yurmser says of Apple’s retail partners offering discounts.
Yurmser argues that Apple’s decision to not offer sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday—in addition to being better for employees, as Ahrendts argues—is best for business. The company has no issue selling its wildly popular products at full price. Therefore, there is no financial benefit in dropping prices to lift demand.
“Right now, Apple has what are generally regarded as the best products out there, and is selling about as many iPhones as it can make,” Wurmser says. “It has little incentive to undermine its brand with lower prices, even in the case of iPads or Apple Watches.“
So, as long as Apple is doing well and Ahrendts is in charge, don’t expect a shopping bonanza on Black Friday and Cyber Monday—Apple simply has no reason to follow the crowd.
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