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As highlighted by Fortune, analysts’ consensus on iPad sales for last quarter suggest that iPad sales will actually decline year-over-year by about 0.7%. Although the expected decline is small, this would represent a big shift in iPad momentum, especially since Apple saw a strong increase in sales for the holiday quarter, going from 22.9M units in the previous year to 26M this year.

If iPad sales have fallen, it wouldn’t be because of different market conditions to last year. Apple introduced the iPad Air at the end of 2014 around a year from the introduction of the iPad 4 at the end of 2012. Last year, Apple dropped the price of the iPad Mini a modest $30 while also introducing the highly anticipated retina iPad Mini. In 2012, it introduced the iPad mini. The product cycles are similar, so the decline isn’t due to any artificial inflation of sales last year.

Apple has also been pretty aggressive in price drops on the iPad line, with $50 markdowns being about the norm (currently at Best Buy) as well as expanding TD-LTE support to China in March. Apple also began selling refurbished retina iPad Minis in its Apple Store yesterday, though it is probably too late to make any mark on the current quarter.

The consensus across all analysts polled is 19.3 million sales, compared to 19.5 million in the same quarter in 2013. As usual, amateur analysts are slightly more optimistic than the professionals, but not by much. The difference between both groups is only 200,000 units.

At the extremes, Asymco’s Horace Dediu expects sales of 21.8 million and Braeburn Group’s Matt Lew estimates just 15 million unit sales. Even if sales reach the top end of the estimates, growth will still have substantially slowed compared to 2012 to just 10%. By comparison, the Q2 2013 quarter saw 55% growth. The change in growth rates over such a short space of time is a little concerning.

Having iPad sales peak at a time when Apple released two major updates to the iPad line (the Retina Mini and the iPad Air) does not paint a good outlook for the product’s future. Apple will report its actual iPad sales in its earnings call on April 23rd.

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11 Responses to “Analyst forecasts suggest iPad sales have peaked, expect YOY decline this quarter despite 13% holiday growth”

  1. Analysts don’t know squat. People will replace aging iPads.

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  2. there is an error in the first graphic: the estimates refers to 2Q of 2014 not the 1Q od 2014

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  3. saoir says:

    Yeah …. those analysts. Great record they have … NOT !!

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  4. Whether the analysts are right or wrong, Apple’s share price will plummet yet again because they’re not selling enough iPads. End of story. Recent Apple investors will lose money because Tim Cook can’t convince anyone with big bucks that Apple has a solid future. Apple is not a no-brainer investment in the sense that if you buy Apple you will make money. Apple is far from being a “sure thing” and the next earnings call will prove it. Where other tech companies missed and their shares dropped a couple of percentage points, Apple will fall about 8% as shareholders dump the stock in a frenzy. That’s due to lack of faith in a seemingly weak CEO. Dumping of Apple stock upon earnings is practically a given.

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  5. The thing I don’t understand is why it seems that the Analyst never take into account the “Hand-me-down” process for Apple products. Each of my children got my ‘hand-me-down’ iPhones (family of 5) and my oldest and middle child got my first 2 iPads (iPad 1 and iPad 3). Apple has repeat buyers who upgrade on a regular basis because of either 1) they are just tech junkies and want the latest gadgets or 2) it’s easier for person “a” to give their child an older IOS device (perceived lower value now because the new one came out) and they get the new one.

    What else they don’t take into account is the next generation of buyers / teens that are coming up. Now, 2 of my children have purchased iPhone 5S’s because they have their own money (sorta). Now there is a new generation of buyers coming into their own. So, because they don’t take this into account I think most of these numbers are short sited at best.

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  6. Of course, last year’s March quarter started out with low inventory, and ended with 1.4 million more iPads in inventory than it started, so 19.5 million was really 18.1 million sold to end useers. thus a 19.4 million will be about a 7% YoY increase. But don’t expect many media types to bother explaining this.

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  7. So the always wrong about Apple analysts are flapping their lips again… Big deal! Nothing to see here. Move along. A more interesting story would be a comparison between Apple’s tablet sales to the rest of the industry.

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  8. It would be rather strange if the iPad Air sold in smaller numbers than the iPad 4. The Air is so much better in very way, and received glowing reviews all around. I think these analysts are wrong – again.

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  9. It would be rather strange if the iPad Air sold in smaller numbers than the iPad 4. The Air is so much better in every way, and received glowing reviews all around. I think these analysts are wrong – again.

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