Every year on Black Friday Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster and his team spend the day at Mall of America in Minneapolis watching the Apple Store for buying trends and traffic. This year they also kept an eye on the Microsoft store across the hall, and what they saw doesn’t bode well for Microsoft.
In the two hours Munster’s team watched the Microsoft store they observed these key things:
- There was 47% less foot traffic at the Microsoft (MSFT) outlet than the Apple (AAPL) store.
- Shoppers bought 17.2 items per hour at the Apple Store and only 3.5 items per hour at the Microsoft Store. All but two of the Microsoft purchases were X-Box games.
- Shoppers at the Apple Store bought an average of 11 iPads per hour. Despite heavy TV, print and billboard advertising for the new Microsoft Surface tablet, not one was sold sold during the two hours Piper Jaffray spent monitoring that store. Doesn’t bode well for Microsoft’s answer to the iPad.
While two hours isn’t probably enough time to make concrete judgements, it really doesn’t bode well for Microsoft not to have sold any Surface Tablets when Apple (on average) sold 22 during the same period in the same mall.
I will assume that:
- There were Surface tablets available
- Surface Tablets were on display
- Tablet prices were on par with competing retailers
I’ll also note that I was in a Best Buy (very, very briefly) on Saturday looking for a tripod adapter and noticed the Microsoft Surface display. I didn’t see anyone around it, while at the same time there were a few people around the Apple in-store area (Apple Store within a store). Again, not scientific at all (my Anthropology methods prof would pitch a fit if I reported these observations as anything other than anecdotal evidence), but not a good sign in an otherwise busy store.
Gene Munster also reports that sales of many items were down compared to last year, which he believes to be caused by supply constraints:
Again, that could be both observational bias and a priori assumptions at play here. People could be trying to find better bargains or just browsing or they did want an iPad mini and the color/size wasn’t in stock.
I admit I think the Surface looks really cool, but I also haven’t read reviews that suggest to me that it’s leaps and bounds ahead of the iPad. But maybe the Surface Tablet just needs a little more time to catch on.
Photo from gregstock.me