Despite concerns about waning demand for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)'s iPhone, the device is still the must-have holiday gift, influential tech analyst Gene Munster told CNBC on Monday.
The Piper Jaffray managing director said on "Squawk Box" that a survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by his firm's retail team over the past month showed the iPhone was even more sought after this year, as Cyber Monday gets underway with Black Friday and the long Thanksgiving shopping weekend in the rearview mirror.
"The percentage of people who wanted an iPhone [was 7.2 percent]. That was the No. 1 requested gift. It was [5.2 percent] in 2015," Munster said, referring to the findings of Piper Jaffray's fifth annual Holiday Spending Intentions Survey.
The notion that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were only given incremental upgrades from the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus may be warranted, he said. But the reality is consumers want it, he added. "They're still in tight supply. ... That is probably the bigger story, which should be good for the March numbers [for Apple]."
Reviewing brand preferences within top gifts, Apple mindshare, a measure of what consumers say they'll buy, increased to 10.3 percent in 2016, with teens predominantly requesting the iPhone and MacBook products, according to the survey.
Munster also shot down the idea that Apple's decision to reinstitute Black Friday gift cards was an acknowledgment of the need to offer incentives to boost sales.
For example, Apple was offering up to a $50 gift card when buying certain iPhones, including the 6s Plus; or a $150 gift card when buying some MacBooks.
"I wouldn't read too much into it," Munster said, pointing out the Apple gift cards were given to buyers of computers or devices for future purchases. "What ends up happening is people have to go and spend more at Apple. They weren't really discounting the products per se."
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