iPod inventories are strong, but only at the Apple Store, according to a Piper Jaffray follow-up report. Despite the limited availability in some retail stores, analyst Gene Munster expects iPod sales to remain strong, and that they may exceed his expectations.
The Piper Jaffray report compared ten Apple retail stores, and 11 third-party retailers for on hand iPod inventory over Thanksgiving weekend, and again on December 1 and December 2. The second study also included an additional nine third-party retailers. In both cases, Appleis own retail stores had a larger selection of iPods available than the third-party retailers.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, eight of the ten Apple stores surveyed had all of the iPod models in stock, and that all of the 11 third-party retailers were missing at least some of the models. Several of them, in fact, were completely sold out of their entire iPod inventory.
In the follow-up survey, eight of the ten Apple stores again had the full iPod product line in stock. Third-party retailers, however, were having trouble getting their stock replenished. Only two out of the 20 retailers had all of the models, but they were still missing some colors. 17 of the 20 were missing at least on style of nano, and 15 of the 20 were missing at least one style of the video capable models.
Based on the study, Mr. Munster expects that some of the iPod sales estimates for the December quarter other analysts are making are too high. He is predicting total iPod shipments to hit 9 million units, but feels Apple may be able to over shoot that number by a small margin.
The iPod is expected to remain a top-seller, and maintain its position as the market leader in digital music players. Mr. Munster is predicting that more than 37 million iPods will ship by the end of 2005, and that those sales will fuel the iPod "halo effect," exposing more and more Microsoft Windows users to the Macintosh.
Apple is currently trading in the pre-market at US$72.25, down 0.38 (0.52%) from its Friday high of $72.63.