Apple’s premium-priced Macs ‘defy the laws of economics,’ but iPhone does not, Needham says

Mac sales have continued to grow in the face of a recession and declining overall PC market, but Apple’s iPhone could not escape shifting trends in the smartphone space, analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham said on Tuesday.

Wolf’s take was detailed in his latest note to investors, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider. In it, the analyst said that while the Mac “seems to defy the laws of economics,” Apple’s iPhone “is not so fortunate.”

To support this, Wolf noted that Apple has been able to consistently increase its share of the personal computer industry over the last decade. Apple’s relatively small share of the overall PC market has given it opportunity to grow, but the Mac’s growth has even continued in recent years, while sales of traditional Windows PCs have actually shrunk in the face of tablets like Apple’s iPad.

“Our analysis indicates that the Mac is the exception, not the rule,” Wolf wrote. “Against a background of progressively rising prices compared to the prices of PCs, the Mac has consistently gained share in the personal computer industry as a result of an outward shift in its demand curve. The only explanation that we see for the shifting demand curve is the now-mythical halo effect.”

Apple’s so-called “halo effect” refers to the belief that sales of devices like the iPod, and later the iPhone, have helped to tie customers into the company’s ecosystem of devices. That, in turn, has helped to boost Mac sales.

Mac shipments have outpaced the overall PC market in 30 of the last 31 quarters, allowing Apple to increase its market share over the last 11 years from 1.82 percent to 5.05 percent worldwide.

Read more here.

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