UK retailers look to Apple's iPad mini to save high street sales

December 20, 2012 10:16 AM EST

It appears Apple's [AAPL] iPad mini hasn't saved the retail economy; high street sales remain stagnant despite its introduction -- though the company seems set to sell millions more units of its new tablet than it had expected.

Hear the music playing

It may seem unreasonable to expect a single Apple product would be enough to save high street sales, but this seems to be what the UK's CBI had hoped for.

"A boom in tablet computer sales sparked by the launch of Apple’s iPad mini failed to save retailers from stagnant sales in November, official figures showed today." The Independent.

It's not the first time economists have looked to Apple to boost economic performance. JP Morgan anticipated the recent iPhone 5 launch may have boosted the US economy by around 0.5 percent.

These estimates may not have been foolish: Since launch, iPhone 5 is estimated to have boosted the US economy by as much as $75 billion, according to Mobile Future. "That figure equates to 0.5 per cent of the $15 trillion economy," MSN.com claims.

These figures reflect the company's vast importance to economies worldwide: its products deliver much-needed business, taxation and employment.

The iPad mini has had significant impact on UK retail where it raised household goods sales by 3.8 percent across November, though sales of sportswear, jewelry, clothing all declined. These UK high street figures reflect the huge demand that exists for the latest Apple tablet.

Apple's growing importance

A Digitimes report claims Apple recently increased its orders for iPad mini, production of which is "improving", suggesting component and manufacturing process problems are being resolved.

The result? Customers may snap up over 12 million iPad mini's across this Holiday season -- broadly in line with even the most reticent analyst predictions of c. 26 million Apple tablet sales (including the 9.7-inch iPad and iPad mini) in the current season.

It's worth noting over 15 million iPads were sold across the same quarter one year ago, though some analysts believe the mini is cannibalizing sales of the full-size product.

Time doesn't stand still in Cupertino. It's inevitable work has already begun on the next generation iPad mini, which is expected to boast a Retina Display.

2012 has been a year of transition. The company sold more mobile devices across this year than it has sold computers since the company's launch in the '70's. This is proof of the inherent good sense of Apple's decision to base its future strategy on a string of post-PC devices.

If nothing else discussion of Apple's impact on the global economy underlines just how vastly important its products and services have become, a remarkable achievement when you consider how close it came to collapse in the late '90's.

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