The publication of negative analyzes and forecasts for Apple by the main research companies continues: after the downgrading of Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital and that of Credit Suisse, now the turn of Citigroup.
Richard Gardner reviews Apple's forecasts for 2009 based on growing pressure on consumer spending and the crisis that has hit the credit market. The analyst predicts that Apple will sell 50 million iPods instead of the previously forecasted 58.5 million, basically 6% year-over-year growth. Gardner believes that the market is saturated: those who want iPod already have one and, in times of crisis, users will hardly rush to buy the new model.
Even the total iPhone sales revised downwards by Citigroup: from 21 million pieces to the current estimate of 18.5 million.
Gardner reduces Mac shipments from 11.4 million to 10.2 million for the coming year, a value that translates into a 2% year-on-year growth, against the previously expected value of 15%. The analyst explains the substantial downward revision with the fact that Cupertino already holds an important part of the laptops from 1000 dollars up, and does not believe that it will enter the range below this price.
The latter point is the one that has triggered the most comments among observers and sites dedicated to the Mac world. The analysis seems to examine only the portable systems that this year have grown between 40 and 60%, while it does not mention the systems desktops, also growing strongly in 2008 with rates between 30 and 50 percent.
Even if the global economic situation suggests downward estimates and forecasts and a lot of prudence, it seems impossible that in 2009 the Mac computer sector as a whole, a more desktop notebook, experienced such a sharp slowdown.
We close the examination of the Citigroup forecasts with the total expected sales: the analyst Gardner now indicates a total figure of 35.2 billion dollars, here too a figure significantly revised downwards and even lower than other analysis companies. Interestingly, according to Gardner, about 70% of Apple's total revenues for 2009 will come from deferred revenues generated by iPhones sold during 2008.
In view of Citigroup's catastrophic forecasts for Apple, Silicon Alley Insider notes that: "… one thing to predict a slowdown, quite another to say that people will completely stop buying Macs".