Apple Sales Slump Set to Continue, but Many Investors Remain Bullish | Mint

Apple Sales Slump Set to Continue, but Many Investors Remain Bullish

FILE PHOTO: A man holds an iPhone 14 as Apple Inc's new models go on sale at an Apple store in Beijing, China, September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: A man holds an iPhone 14 as Apple Inc's new models go on sale at an Apple store in Beijing, China, September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo (REUTERS)

Summary

  • iPhone-maker expected to report third consecutive quarterly sales decline, although many investors see virtue in company’s diversification

Apple is expected to announce its third consecutive quarterly decline in revenue on Thursday after markets close, the company’s most prolonged sales slump since 2016, although many investors remain confident the struggles will be temporary.

That kind of revenue dip hasn’t happened at Apple in about seven years, when it ended its fiscal 2016 with sales down 7.7% annually, mostly due to declining iPhone sales. The same phenomenon is behind Apple’s slump in 2023, although investors and analysts now see a different company.

The iPhone currently accounts for roughly half of Apple’s overall sales, compared with nearly two-thirds of revenue in 2016. Investors largely believe that Apple has become a diversified enough company to handle a stagnating iPhone business. The tech giant is expected to close out 2023 with revenue declining 2.6% from the previous year.

Apple’s next major iPhone upgrade—likely called the iPhone 15—is expected in September, typical of the company’s annual hardware launch cycle.

July expectations

Revenue for the three-month quarter ended in July is expected to be $81.8 billion, down 1.4% from the prior year, according to analysts polled by FactSet.

Net income is expected to be $18.8 billion, a decline of 3.4% from Apple’s earnings the same quarter a year ago.

China, Apple’s third largest market, is expected to see a 6.7% annual decline in revenue to $13.6 billion.

iPhone sales are expected to decrease about 1% annually to $40.2 billion, roughly half of Apple’s total revenue.

Investor faith

Even with declining iPhone sales, investors continue to support Apple, believing the company will find a way to maintain and grow its dominant position in consumers’ lives.

Analysts expect Apple to return to slight revenue growth in its fiscal fourth quarter that ends in September, with sales growing less than 1% from the previous year to $90.2 billion.

In June, Apple became the world’s first corporation to close with a market capitalization above $3 trillion. Its stock is trading up 50% since the beginning of the year.

Diversification

Services revenue, including subscriptions to streaming music or TV products or spending in the App Store, now makes up a sizable portion of Apple’s revenue. The segment is expected to grow 5.8% annually to $20.7 billion in quarterly sales.

Apple is also finding new success for iPhone sales in emerging markets—especially in India. Analysts are hoping that any drop-off in China sales, which in the past had been a major growth engine for Apple, will be softened by uptake of business in India.

Write to Aaron Tilley at aaron.tilley@wsj.com

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