Recent reports have shown that the sales of the Apple iPhone rose just 1% year on year which is the slowest growth ever reported by this iconic brand accountable for about 75% of the company’s revenue. Apple has also issued a forecast that suggests this slump will continue as they projecting the first decline in revenue in 10 years.
Apple, under the guidance of chief executive Timothy D Cook is struggling to become an advancing tech company and has entered a period of slow growth. Whilst the company once published high revenue in double digits with escalating sales of the iPhone and other devices, the iPhone has now saturated the market and the company has not released a sensational new device to take its place.
These figures have brought rise to questions about what Apple will do to satisfy customers that want new top end technology and investors who want growth. There are some investors that treat Apple as a value stock rather than a growth stock, associating Apple with predictable results and stable dividends rather than uncontrollable growth in revenue.
Talking during a conference call with analysts Mr. Cook suggested that the slowing of sales was actually an indicator of worldwide economic and financial uncertainty. He stated that the extreme conditions we are now seeing are like nothing we have seen before and it is the same story wherever we look.
Apple shares have dropped over 10% in the past year and fell a further 2.6% in the trading hours after these figures were announced. The quarter ending December 26 showed sales of iPhones at 74.8 million compared with 74.5 million last year. Revenue was up 1.7% on the previous year standing at $75.9 billion still short of the Wall Street forecast of $76.6 billion, net profit was up on the previous year by 0.4 billion at $18.4 billion.
The current quarter ending in March is set to show a very different picture, with a projected revenue of $53 billion, down $5 billion on the previous year and lower than Wall Street suggest.
Leading up to the announcements investors lowered expectations because they felt that the demand for Apple’s latest iPhones had been weak. Many companies that supply parts to Apple for the iPhone blamed their own lower financial results on lack of demand.
Luca Maestri, the chief financial officer at Apple suggested when interviewed that the results were impacted by the strengthening of the dollar. In December he said that the foreign exchange had impacted $5 billion on the revenue. Other growth areas Apple relied on have slowed down, however sales in the China region were up 14% in the same quarter last year, yet the yearly revenue growth from this area is around 70% in the last four quarters.
With the sales growth of iPhone stagnating, other products were unable to pick up the slack with the sales of iPads down 25% from last year in terms of units sold and Mac computers declining a further 4%. Apple saw growth in services rose over 25% and revenue in a category labeled other products which includes the Apple watch reported an increase of over 60%.
Mr. Maestri confirmed that Apple would continue to raise money in order to provide investors with a return on their investments in the form of stock buybacks and dividends. As Apple houses most of its $216 billion cash overseas it has been borrowing money to the tune of $9 billion in the past years to pay out investors. As Apple matures Mr. Maestri believes the company will be able to deliver steady financial results through the 1 billion devices used worldwide, specifying the iTunes store, Apple music and App store. Mr. Maestri also explained that the market doesn’t understand that Apple has a portion of its business tied up directly in the installed base that is not featured in the quarterly reports.
Mr. Cook reiterated this sentiment saying that it is particularly important during unsettled times to appreciate that a large proportion of Apple’s revenue accumulates over time. He also added that the popularity of the iPhone provides the company with a long lasting ground to build upon.