With holiday shopping season at or just past peak for the year and interest in things like consumer electronics items at an all-time high, a rash of tweets and news stories about $1,000+ prices for late model iPods caught our attention this week.
This piqued our attention because iPod sales have continued to steadily decline in recent years, with iPhones and iPads becoming the holiday must-have gadgets for Apple fans in recent years.
The recent decline makes a kind of sense; after all, iPhones and iPads do everything that iPods do and more, and these days most consumers carry a music-playing mobile phone with them all the time.
We thought we'd fire up Terapeak Professional and take a look at some iPod sales statistics by family, to see how iPod values and demand are holding up.
Sales Data and Average Prices by Family
There have been a lot of iPod models over the years—multiple generations of units across the Classic, Touch, Nano, and Shuffle families, often each in multiple configurations. We had to make the picture simpler somehow, so we ran numbers for:
iPod Touch as a group
iPod Touch fifth generation (latest flagship iPod) units as a group
iPod Classic as a group
iPod Shuffle as a group
iPod Nano as a group
First, the numbers on annual sales volume.
As expected, the iPod Touch family of products outsells the others, accounting for $31 million in sales over the past year. The iPod classic family, discontinued in September, has accounted for nearly $8 million.
Now, the numbers on average prices for the year.
Across all items (items in any condition), the fifth generation iPod touch has had the highest average price over the course of this year. When the numbers are limited to new items, however, the iPod classic becomes the clear winner.
We wanted to know whether the discontinuation of the iPod classic had affected this number, so we plotted average prices for new iPod Classic units since late spring on a month-by-month basis.
Claims that late model iPod Classic units are currently worth a thousand dollars or more on eBay are probably slightly overstated. A handful have paid this much, but prices over December thus far have ranged between $350 and $400 on average, and these prices are currently holding on eBay, with units readily available.
Classic Units with Premium Values
At the same time, it's certainly true that some iPod Classic units are now driving collectible prices:
$90,000.00 — for a factory-sealed 30GB U2 edition iPod Classic on November 9th
$20,000.00 — for a factory-sealed 5GB first generation iPod Classic on September 29th
$7,999.99 — for a factory-sealed 20GB U2 edition iPod Classic on September 13th
$3,550.00 — for a factory-sealed 5GB first generation iPod Classic on December 1st
$2,500.00 — for a factory-sealed 10GB second generation iPod Classic on November 8th
So while the final iPod Classic models might not drive sky-high prices just yet, they may well at some point—given the track records of other Apple products and earlier generation iPod Classic units.
And if you happen to have a brand new iPod Classic somewhere in your collection, you may be sitting on top of a steadily appreciating asset.