Is Apple the tail that wags the U.S. economy?
Jeff Sommer rattled off some impressive stats in his Sunday New York Times column:
- Apple is the biggest company, by market capitalization, in the world.
- Apple accounts for about 3.5% of the weighting of the S.&P. 500
- Apple accounted for 18% of the entire rise of the S.&P. 500 this year
- Apple iPhone sales are adding 1/4 to 1/3 of a percentage point to the annualized growth rate of the U.S. GDP, according to Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist for JPMorgan Chase
Sommer treats Apple as if it were a one-product company, and it’s hard to fault him. After all, the iPhone accounts for more than half of Apple’s revenue and, according to Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi, between 60% and 70% of its profits.
Sommer also takes pains to point out that the average selling price of the 39 million iPhones Apple sold last quarter was $603, and that the profit margin on those sales was nearly 50%.
By his accounting, the iPhone — by itself — is the tail that wags the U.S. economy.
For another point of view, consider CNBC’s Phone 6 won’t be a boost to GDP, published three weeks earlier.
Using a stat I’m not familiar with — the Bureau of Economic Activity’s report on telephone and fax equipment consumption — Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, concludes that iPhone 6 sales, strong as they were, won’t have a meaningful impact on the U.S. economy. By his estimate, less than 0.01% of GDP.