Current quarter expected to be better
Apple taking bigger bite out of China as iPhone 6s sales soar
Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, sold about 48.05 million iPhones worldwide in its fourth quarter ended 26 September, slightly below analysts’ average forecast of 48.72 million. Net sales rose 22% to $51.5 billion.
The company is forecasting an even better current quarter as the last three months only included two days of sales of its new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus which posted record sales in the first weekend that they hit stores in late September.
The release of the iPhone 6 set off a sales frenzy last year, propelling Apple to the most profitable quarter ever for a US company.
Analyst Shannon Cross of Cross Research was encouraged to think Apple could top its success last year. “It suggests that they are definitely up to the task,” she said.
Apple’s fourth quarter sales in Greater China nearly doubled from a year ago to $12.52 billion, accounting for nearly 25% of its total revenue.
“We continue to have wonderful success there,” Apple’s chief financial officer, Luca Maestri, told Reuters, adding that Apple now has 25 stores in China and is opening a new one roughly every month.
But China sales dipped from the fiscal third quarter, when Apple notched $13.2 billion in revenue there. The sequential decline is important as many analysts believe China is poised to replace the United States as Apple’s biggest market.
Analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies said as the Chinese market matures, it is beginning to show spikes around the holidays and slumps before the release of a new phone, as in the U.S. market. “The seasonality in China is really a new wrinkle,” he said.