It appears that Apple may not be recession-proof after all.
According to research firm NPD Group Inc., November Macs sales in U.S. stores declined 1% from a year ago, while industry-wide PC sales rose 2%.
In a piece for the Wall Street Journal NPD analyst Steve Baker blamed a 35% drop in sales of desktop Macs, noting growth in Apple's laptops still outpaced rivals. Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey threw fuel on the fire and cut his estimate for Apple's 2009 profit, noting that Apple faces "a tougher environment" in the first two quarters of next year, when he believes consumer demand will further deteriorate.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster still expects Apple to outpace the market over the next year noting that "What you're seeing in the numbers is price sensitivity with the consumer." The WSJ piece also notes the falling prices of Windows-based PCs, and the proliferation of low-priced computers (like netbooks) may be cutting into Apple's sales.