After refusing to participate in the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush last year, it seems Apple has changed strategy.
The company this week announced plans to offer a “one-day shopping event” this Black Friday.
“Our one-day shopping event will be here before you know it,” the company wrote on its announcement page. “Come back this Friday to check everyone off your list.”
Apple has remained mum on the details of what exactly will be up for grabs at a discount (though the Apple Watch features prominently in the announcement’s imagery), but did mention it will offer free two-day delivery on in-stock items ordered by 5 p.m. Some of the company’s physical store locations will also be offering extended hours (e.g., opening at 8 a.m. rather than 10 a.m.) to field the holiday crush and Apple encouraged shoppers to download its Apple Store app to grab gifts on the go.
The last time Apple took part in Black Friday sales was back in 2014, when it offered iTunes gift cards alongside the purchase of some of its devices, including a $25 gift card with the purchase of an Apple TV and $100 gift cards with the MacBook Air and Pro laptops.
The decision to launch a Black Friday promotion comes on the heels of Apple’s iPhone 7 launch and amid a continued year-over-year slump in iPhone sales.
In the first three months of the year, Apple said it sold 51 million iPhones – down from 61 million in the same quarter the year before. That figure dipped to 40.4 million in the second quarter, which was also down 15 percent from the prior year. iPhone sales rose slightly to 45.5 million in the third quarter, but even that number was 5 percent fewer than the 48 million smartphones the company sold in the same quarter 2015.
Apple CFO Luca Maestri said in October the company felt “very good” about the iPhone 7’s momentum based on early indicators, but it’s possible Apple is looking to boost sales with some savings. However, the company could also figure carriers will offer enough discounts of their own and opt for a strategy similar to its 2014 gift card promotion.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.