Holiday iPod Sales May Have Beaten Expectations

Hitwise has issued a report stating that the market share of visits to Apple's iTunes website was up 413% on Christmas Day 2006 when compared to Christmas Day 2005. Hitwise attributes the spike to new iPod owners flocking to download iTunes.

Indeed, the spike seems to have caused a slowdown of the iTunes store and error messages for some on Monday. However, analysts who spoke to CNN still believe the experience will be positive for Apple.

"It's actually created more positive buzz among analysts -- traffic was so great it blew up the site," said Gene Munster, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray. "If anything it could be a positive -- demand was better than they were expecting."

[...]

"What you're seeing is the tremendous success of the iPod," said Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director with JupiterResearch. "No doubt it was a very, very popular gift, and no matter how well you plan on the server side of the equation, there are always times when you get caught short."

Apple topped Amazon.com's bestseller list for MP3 players, and Hitwise indicates that Apple continued to perform favorably against increased competition, beating Microsoft's Zune.net by 30 to 1 in site visits.

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