Apple’s new iPad mini may be cannibalizing sales of the company’s full-sized iPad, according to Citi analyst Glen Yeung, whose findings were reported by CNET Thursday. A recent poll of 50 Apple Retail Stores found limited stock of the iPad mini, but almost universal availability of the new fourth-generation full-sized iPad.
During the survey, about 80 percent of stores did have some model of iPad mini available, although choice among the various models – capacity, color, wireless carrier – was highly limited. In contrast, 100 percent of the stores surveyed had wide availability of the fourth-generation iPad, with only 6 percent of the stores claiming that certain models were not available.
“While not explicitly asked, it is clear in our survey work that [the] iPad 4 is not selling well, cannibalized by Mini sales,” Mr. Yeung said of the survey’s findings. He estimated that approximately 10 million iPad minis have been manufactured in the current quarter, compared to between 10 and 15 million of all other iPads combined.
Mr. Yeung’s conclusions contradict those of Cowen and Company, which found in a mid-November survey that many new and prospective iPad mini owners were transitioning from Android tablets or Windows PCs, with only 29 percent aiming to replace a full-sized iPad. “Since 52 percent of the mini intenders in our sample did not own a tablet of any type, we see it successfully positioned as likely to penetrate new entry-tier segments,” the survey’s report said. “Mini will no doubt take some iPad ‘4’ sales, but its low price also looks like an important tool to capture new consumers’ attention.”
The iPad mini has been in relatively short supply since its launch November 2. Issues related to the manufacture of the device’s display are rumored to be the culprit for the low production output, although Mr. Yeung believes any issues will be resolved by the end of the year.
Due to these supply constraints, it is unclear if comparing current device availability at Apple Retail Stores is the best way to determine if iPad mini sales are cannibalizing a significant number of full-sized iPad sales, but a new analysis in future quarters when supply has met demand will be telling.