Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster spent some time staking out the Apple Store in the Mall of America in Minneapolis and Microsoft's retail store that's across the hall. His team of watchers counted shoppers and purchases coming out of each, and the results provide a startling contrast for each company.
According to Fortune, Mr. Munster's watchers found that the Microsoft's stores had 47 percent less traffic than the Apple Store. That, in and of itself, isn't surprising to anyone who has walked past both stores in those few markets where they compete, but the quality of that traffic is even more telling.
The Apple Store was selling 17.2 items per hour over an eight hour period, while the Microsoft Store was selling 3.5 items per hour over a two hour period, and five of those seven items were Xbox games.
Just to twist the knife a little deeper, 11 of those Apple items each and ever hour were iPads walking out in the hands of happy customers. How many Microsoft Surface RTs were sold? Well, if you read the title you know the answer: zero.
That's zilch. Nada.
That said, not every aspect of Mr. Munster's report was positive. While Apple's foot traffic was up over last year—715 people per hour, compared to 544 per hour last year, a sharp increase of 31.4 percent—sales were actually down.
"The positive take away was store traffic was up 31% y/y, likely driven by shoppers wanting to see the new iPad Mini," Mr Munster wrote in his report. "The negatives were that the most popular iPad Mini (16G) is in limited supply and Mac sales (~12% of revenue) continue to appear to be impacted by the iPad and a slowdown ahead of the new iMac."
Last year, Apple sold 10.1 Macs and 14.8 iPads per hour. This year, Apple sold only 3.9 Macs per hour, a significant decrease, which Mr. Munster attributed to the lack of iMacs. iPad sales were broken down to 6.7 iPads and 3.9 iPad minis per hour.
Mr. Munster maintained his "Buy" rating and his $910 price price target for $AAPL [Corrected, as noted in the comments below].
On Monday, Apple's stock ended the session at $589.53, a gain of 18.03 (+3.15 percent), on moderate volume of 24.4 million shares.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.