Apple just might prove to be the Grinch that stole Christmas from fashion retailers.
The much-anticipated iPhone 6 went on sale today — to the joy and relief of the Apple fans who waited in line for days in front of the company’s stores. Dollars from those zealous customers are expected to lead a rush of sales for the tech company, which is also looking to keep the excitement going with the hotly anticipated Apple Watch in the spring.
“This [iPhone] launch could (again) suck dollars away from discretionary retailers just in time for Holiday,” said a group of Wells Fargo analysts in a research note. “And next spring’s Apple Watch launch could pose a threat to [first-quarter] sales, when consumers may have to stretch to buy the watch on the heels of holiday spending.”
Wells Fargo projected that iPhone 6 sales would hit $10 million in its opening weekend.
“In the U.S., we estimate [fourth-quarter] iPhone sales will generate nearly $14 billion in retail sales, which for reference, equates to 63 percent of the holiday sales dollar growth across all retail categories in 2013,” said a research note from a group of Wells Fargo analysts.
Some retailers, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. that sell Apple products, could benefit from additional traffic, but competition for consumer’s spending money is generally sobering.
“These are discretionary dollars that could otherwise be spent on other categories in the all-important holiday season,” the analysts said.
And the Apple Watch, once it bows, could take share from more than just watchmakers. “The $349 price tag can just as easily replace a handbag purchase, several pairs of athletic pants or jeans, or a few tops,” the analysts said. “Wallets are not infinite. It has to come from somewhere.”