Drought of iPods frustrates Apple resellers

Shoppers wanting to get their hands on the new iPod are turning to internet auction sites like ebay as Apple’s Australian stores are dogged by supply problems.

Last week, bidders on the internet auction site ebay were bidding above the RRP for new model iPods, reflecting the MP3 player’s “hot” cachet and perhaps its sporadic availability at retail outlets.

“We’ve been averaging a hundred calls a day,” Next Byte director, Adam Steinhardt, said.

He described the supply situation as “dire”.

“It’s been a drought for six weeks,” Steinhardt said. “Supply has been trickling through.”

Apple Centre Broadway was seeing a “disheartening” supply of iPods, salesperson, Keith Marshall, said. “We have a steady dribble of supply that goes out to back order. We’ll order 20 and maybe get five.”

Apple Centre Taylor Square was also seeing constrained supply, director, Ben Morgan, said. “Today alone we placed 10 orders on top of 35 back orders,” he said.

While Apple’s high profile advertising of its iPods has seen a spike in demand over the past two to three weeks, it was struggling to meet demand, Steinhardt said. “In the Melbourne store alone I want 50.”

Next Byte expected to clear its back orders with a large shipment of iPods due late last week, he said.

“We’ve been flabberghasted by demand,” Apple marketing manager, Arno Lenior, said.

The vendor was getting extra shipments to try to meet local demand, he said.

While Apple tended to allocate its stocks fairly amongst its channel partners, Steinhardt wryly noted that the vendor did give its own Apple Store an advantage.

While Apple is continuing its high profile advertising campaign for the iPod, it is also receiving both IT and mainstream media coverage including consumer technology and gadget magazine T3, The Australian newspaper and radio station Nova, which last week was giving iPods away as competition prizes.

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