A colleague joined me for a field trip to the 5th Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan today. Both of us were looking to buy some accessories for our iPads. We walked down the circular steps in the middle of the store and before us, was a mass of people the envy of every retailer – in a line that almost circled the interior of the store. I walked over to a salesman to see if I had to wait in that line to make my purchase (no, if using a credit card. Yes, if cash). I asked who all of these people were. He told us that almost everyone in line was there to see if their iPad’s had arrived. He said there have been production problems in Taiwan, so stores are experiencing serious shortages.
But then he mentioned another interesting point – he said he sells maybe two a day to people who live here in New York. “From other countries,” he said in response to my question of where did all of these people come from. He said he’s heard stories of how people would buy a couple iPads and take them back to their home country to sell them for $2,400. He even talked about”resellers,” people who bought iPads in the store and then sold them outside the buildinging to people who didn’t want to wait days or weeks to get their iPad. Entrepreneurs everywhere.
The international sales element is interesting as likely many of the buyers are getting them here to take them home to play with. Earlier this month, Apple delayed launcing the iPad internationally until sometime in May. If the New York store experience is like what other large cities are experiencing, you wonder what impact this will have on international sales when the product actually launches.