Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones in Q4 2012, 22.9 million iPads. Smartphone market share may have peaked

Apple announced its results for the fourth quarter of last year (the company’s fiscal 2013 first quarter). Everything is up, a few records have been broken, but some people aren’t happy. Let’s dive in.

Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones during Q4. That compares favorably (to say the least) to the 26.9 million units it sold in Q3. In fact, it’s 77% more. But this was a holiday season, the biggest of the year. And Apple went into it with the new iPhone 5, which was only available for about ten days prior to the start of the quarter.

Which all means that most ‘analysts’ were expecting Apple to go past the 50 million threshold, yet that didn’t happen. The iPhone sales numbers put Apple’s smartphone market share at around 21% for the last quarter of last year. Apple will keep its No.2 spot in the Top of biggest smartphone makers, since there’s absolutely no chance for the No.3 (Huawei) to catch up. And, with these sales numbers, Apple going past Samsung (the No.1) is very unlikely.


For the full year, Apple’s probably at around 19-20% market share. These are all estimates at the moment, since many more companies have yet to publish their 2012 results (the big analyst houses included). Still, that puts Apple’s smartphone market share in roughly the same spot as it was in 2011, when it was 19.1%. So overall a pretty stagnant year for Apple in this regard. Perhaps it may finally be time for the company to expand its iPhone range and announce more than one device per year? The current strategy certainly seems to have been milked to the extreme already.

Sure, Apple already is selling three different iPhones right now, some will say. Alongside the flagship iPhone 5 you can still buy the now-midrange (in terms of pricing) iPhone 4S and the now low-end iPhone 4. But that’s the case only in North America and a few other places. Apple’s older phones aren’t discounted as heavily everywhere across the world.

Also, while they may be good enough for many, the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4 are old. And buying one (no matter how cheap) might still feel like getting last year’s technology. Whereas a more affordable new iPhone, would be just that – new. For many people, getting something that’s perceived as new, despite coming with inferior hardware to the day’s flagships, may be more important than having access to yesteryear’s technology for a cheaper price. Just something to think about.

Moving on then, Apple sold 22.9 million iPads in Q4, compared to just 14 million in Q3 and 15.4 million in Q4 2011. That’s decent growth, but we can’t tell you how many of those were iPad Mini models and how many were the ‘normal-size’ tablets, since the company doesn’t break things down.

Still, the iPad Mini couldn’t have eaten too much profits, since Apple posted record earnings of $54.5 billion and net profit of $13.1 billion. That said, gross margin (for all products) did drop from 44.7% in the year-ago quarter to 38.6% now.

Over 75 million iOS devices were sold in this quarter, and that’s yet another record. Up until now, more than 500 million iOS devices have been sold.

All this, however, wasn’t enough for the stock market. Apple’s stock price took a dive after the announcement, since apparently the company didn’t match the analysts’ expectations for its results. That despite this being the company’s best quarter in its history. So yeah, it usually helps not to pay too much attention to anything that comes from the stock market unless you’re actually a player over there.

Market share estimates from Communities Dominate Brands

Apple’s full report


Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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