SAN RAMON (Calif.) — Apple’s iPhone sales rose again in the last quarter but did not grow as fast as analysts expected. This was due to supply shortages which have made it harder to meet demand for a wide variety of products.
Apple has not had to deal with the shortages of supply that have impacted production of everything, from cars to consoles for video games, until recently. The company’s fourth quarter results, released Thursday, were evidence of the products’ continued success but also show that Apple isn’t immune to supply problems.
The July-September period saw the company earn $20.6 billion or $1.24 per shares, which is 62% more than the same time last. Revenue rose 29% to $83.4 billion, compared to the same period last year.
According to FactSet Research, although the earnings were in line with Wall Street analysts’ estimates, revenue was below analysts projections of $85 billion for the quarter.
Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke on conference call with analysts and estimated that supply shortages caused a drop in revenue of $6 billion. Luca Maestri (chief financial officer) warned that sales would be even worse during the quarter that includes the crucial holiday shopping season.
This sobering truth was likely the main reason Apple’s stock price fell by more than 33% in extended trading following the release of the numbers.
In a research note, Dan Ives, a Wedbush Securities analyst, wrote that “it’s not an issue of demand but a supply problem that continues to be a elephant in the room”
Apple’s financial engine, the iPhone, grew 47% over last year to $38.9 Billion for the quarter. Analysts had forecast iPhone sales of approximately $41 billion for this quarter.
This was the end of Apple’s fiscal year. iPhone sales reached $192 billion during this period, the largest volume ever recorded by Apple since 2007.
Apple’s prior iPhone record was set in fiscal 2018, when the company sold $165 billion of the device.
The latest quarter’s gains were affected by supply shortages, which caused last year’s model, iPhone 12, to be delayed until November and October instead of Apple’s usual late September timeline.
The iPhone 13, the new model for this year, was released Sept. 24, helping Cupertino-based Apple increase its sales in the most recent quarter.
The iPhone 13’s big numbers indicate that there is strong consumer interest, even though it’s not significantly different from the iPhone 12 model.
Apple was able to avoid significant decreases in iPhone production. Cook had previously indicated that supply shortages had mainly affected Apple’s Mac laptops, and iPads. Cook admitted that Apple is not selling enough iPhones due to a shortage of chips.
He stressed that “Demand remains very strong.”
The supply shortage will continue into holiday shopping season. One of the biggest wildcards will be how many people will tell their friends and family to wait until next year to get an iPhone or any other Apple product. If enough people do this, Apple will be able to sell the January-March quarter instead.
Cook stated that he believes that with some of the potential sales made in the previous quarter, but he also admitted that the holiday shopping season presents a “perishable opportunity” to sell some products.
Logan Purk, an Edward Jones analyst, predicts that iPhones will continue to be popular. Some gift givers will even hand out IOUs, assuring that the recipient will receive a new model if the product becomes available.
He stated that “The Apple ecosystem is strong”