Apple sold more iOS devices in Q4 2011 than all Androids combined, reclaims No.1 smartphone maker spot
Apple has just reported its results for the fourth quarter of 2011, and records have been broken. Again.
Following a pretty bland Q3, when everything was up compared to 2010, but some numbers were down compared to Q2, the company has delivered some very impressive sales, revenue, and profit numbers – most undoubtedly having to do with the launch of the iPhone 4S. It was the first time when Apple moved its new phone launch to Q4, and the first time when it let more than a year pass between phone releases. And that shows. Apparently there was a lot of pent-up demand for a new Apple phone. And that all turned into record sales, even from the first weekend.
So what are the numbers? Apple has sold 37.04 million iPhones in Q4, which is 117% more than last quarter, and 128% more year-on-year. At that rate, Apple has probably just become the No.1 smartphone maker in the world again. That was a position it first held during the second quarter of 2011 (after Nokia’s infamous February 11 Windows Phone announcement torpedoed its smartphone sales in the short term), but lost in Q3 to Samsung. In Q4, Samsung is expected to have sold around 35 million smartphones, and that’s according to pretty optimistic analysts. So if that’s the case, then Apple is clearly No.1 once again – as there’s no other manufacturer even close to these numbers at the moment.
Equally interesting is the fact that Apple sold more iOS devices in Q4 2011 than all Android devices combined. Google recently reported that 60 million new Android devices were activated during the quarter. But Apple sold 62 million iOS units during the same period.
So one company, with exactly six products on the market (the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3 GS, iPad, iPad 2, and iPod touch), managed to outsell the myriad of companies selling dozens (if not hundreds) of different Android gadgets. That’s an astonishing accomplishment.
But don’t expect this to continue. It has been an interesting quarter, but the numbers are so heavily influenced by the iPhone 4S launch (and, apparently, how eager people were to give Apple their money after one year and a half without a new phone launch) that we’ll have to wait a quarter or two to see if there really is a trend here (and Apple really can overtake Android) or this was just an exception.
Apple has kept its lead over Android in the ‘overall sales’ category, having sold 315 million iOS devices since the original iPhone was introduced in 2007. Google recently reported that it has activated just 250 million Android devices so far. Whether or not Google will be able to reduce that difference is again up to how Apple will do in the following few quarters. If what we’ve seen in Q4 2011 is the start of a trend, then clearly it won’t. If not though, Google may overtake Apple in this metric at some point – though it’s looking to be a lot harder after seeing these numbers than it felt like a few months ago.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, Apple’s revenue grew to $46.33 billion (63% more than the previous quarter, and up 79% YoY) and its net profit to $13.06 billion (up 97% from Q3 and 117% YoY). The company’s gross margin was 44.7%, compared to 38.5% one year ago. International sales accounted for 58% of the quarter’s revenue.
According to Apple, the US and Japan were markets where sales were particularly good in the last three months of last year, with China pretty strong too (where the iPhone 4S wasn’t even available yet). Speaking of China, the biggest gift-giving holiday over there has started a couple of days ago, and the iPhone 4S is now available (launched strategically to capture those sales, of course). So do expect Apple’s numbers for the first quarter of 2012 to be heavily influenced by sales of the iPhone 4S in China.