Every year ahead of the holiday season, Apple puts together a year-end gift guide, which is usually a roundup of new products it released just a few month earlier. But this year, in addition to the regular gift guide, Apple has also put up a landing page advertising a mysterious four-day sale event starting this Black Friday through Cyber Monday (November 23 to November 26).
Though Apple hasn’t shared many details. “Mark your calendar. Our four-day shopping event will be here before you know it. This Friday, start checking things off your list” is all it says on the event page.
Based on Apple’s past holiday season promotions, consumers are more likely to receive gift cards on the condition of making a minimum purchase than to get straight discounts on flagship products.
But it could also be a completely new campaign, as Apple faces mounting pressure from its investors who are increasingly bearish on the outlook for its new iPhone demand.
Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs cut its target price for Apple stock the second time this month to $182, warning that the company might have miscalculated the pricing for its new “budget phone,” the $750 iPhone XR, and would, as a result, face slowing demand in key emerging markets.
“In addition to weakness in demand for Apple’s products in China and other emerging markets, it also looks like the balance of price and features in the iPhone XR may not have been well-received by users outside of the U.S.,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday.
The analysts also don’t believe Apple can turn around iPhone sales with an anticipated boost in December. “Historically, a disproportionately large chunk of December quarter demand tends to come in the two-week period beginning a week before Christmas day, so it is possible that things change though we do not believe this is likely,” they wrote.
In the past month, Apple shares have dropped more than 20 percent, diminishing the company’s market cap by $220 billion from its $1 trillion peak in October.
In any case, if you don’t want to wait until Friday, several e-commerce sites and department stores are already featuring Apple products in their Black Friday deals. For example, eBay is offering a one-day, 15 percent off site-wide sale (ending 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday); Macy’s is offering up to $80 off on Apple Watch Series 3 purchases; and Target is offering gift cards from $150 to $250 with iPhone purchases on Verizon, Sprint or AT&T.