While iPhone Revenue Took a 15 Percent Hit, Apple’s Active User Base Increases to 1.4 B devices and Service Revenue is Booming
Last week, Apple reported its financial results for the 2018 holiday season and last quarter, ending in December. While the company warned that the earnings would be less due to declining iPhone sales of 15 percent less, Apple nonetheless posted its second-best earnings and revenue in history.
• Revenue $84.3 billion (of which $52 billion was from iPhone sales).
• Earnings per share (EPS) increase to $4.18.
• Services revenue continues to grow, up to $10.9 billion.
• 1.4 billion active devices installed by users by end of quarter.
• Apple Music has over 50 million paying subscribers.
• App Store sets new single-day record with $322 million processed on New Year’s Day.
• 1.8 billion Apple Pay transactions in last quarter (up more than 2 times the year prior).
• Apple Pay coming to Target, Taco Bell and Jack in the Box stores (now available).
• Apple News has over 85 million monthly active users in US, UK, and Australia, setting new record.
• Apple News is launching in Canada in English and French this quarter.
• Apple has 360 million paid subscriptions across its services.
• Apple expects to surpass 500 million paid subscribers across its services in 2020.
• Apple remains on track to double its fiscal 2016 services revenue by 2020.
• Gross margin was 34.3% for hardware products and 62.8% for services.
• Apple ended the quarter with $245 billion in cash plus marketable securities.
• Apple’s wearables revenue is driven by Apple Watch and AirPods. Wearables category is "approaching the size of a Fortune 200 company."
• iPhone XR is best selling iPhone model, followed by iPhone XS Max and then iPhone XS.
During the call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “I do think price is a factor” in declining iPhone upgrades as users are more likely to hold on to their devices now for longer periods of time. To address pricing concerns abroad as a strong U.S. dollar has made newer models out of reach for many consumers abroad, Apple is offering a different pricing model for consumers in certain countries. While the earnings were less than last year’s with an earnings per share of $3.89, the newest earnings report did show an increase in earnings per share to $4.18. Thus, the figures reveal a year-on-year decline of 5 percent on revenue with an increase of 7.5 percent on earnings per share.
Services revenue continues to grow, up to $10.9 billion, up 19 percent from the year before. Mac revenue hit an all-time high of $7.4 billion, growing 9 percent year-over-year, while the "wearables, home and accessories" category reached $7.3 billion, up 33 percent from 2018. Revenue from iPad also grew to $6.7 billion in the first quarter, up 17 percent year-over-year.
Interestingly enough, Apple's new "Wearables, Home and Accessories" segment, now pulls in more revenue than Apple's iPad business and will soon surpass the Mac. This new segment formerly called “Other Products” includes the Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod, Apple TV, Beats, iPod touch and other accessories.
Apple had taken the unusual step to warn investors about the expected loss of revenue on January 2nd, predicting quite accurately, expected revenue of $84 billion instead of the previously anticipated $89-$93 billion figures laid out in November of 2018. The stock had taken a beating as a result. Nonetheless, right before Apple’s announcement of its actual earnings report, consensus on Wall Street from Morgan Stanley to Macquarie Research, JP Morgan, TF Industries, Alliance Bernstein, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Piper Jaffray, Canaccord Genuity, Loup Ventures and BTIG, was that an earnings per share of around $4.17 could be expected.
This was also the first quarter where Apple’s new policy of no longer providing sales figures for the iPhone, Mac and iPad, is in effect. Apple continues to provide details regarding sales growth, revenue, and guidance, but no longer uses the iPhone or other product unit sales as the predominant indicator of the company’s growth and fiscal success. The company has expected to have multiple offerings such as Services and expected new income via subscriptions such as Apple Music, Apple News and new video content in 2019 and beyond. Apple will provide an update on its capital return program in March earnings report.
For the first fiscal quarter of 2019, Apple predicts revenue of $55-$59 billion with a gross margin of 37-38 percent and operating expenses of $8.5-$8.6 billion and a tax rate of 17 percent. Download consolidated statements here.
Live streaming of Apple’s investor call is available at www.apple.com/investor/earnings-call/ for approximately two weeks after the announcement on January 29th.