How Apple Nabbed 104% of Smartphone Profits Last Quarter
Only one company was able to nab the smartphone industry’s profits in the third quarter.
Apple’s iPhone secured 103.6% of the smartphone industry’s profits during the third quarter, BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long said in a research note on Thursday. That’s the highest share of profits Apple has nabbed in recent memory and easily topped its approximately 70% share of profits in the second quarter. In the third quarter of 2015, Apple’s iPhone profit share hovered above 90%.
The company’s success in the third quarter was due in part to the iPhone 7, which Apple started selling in September. However, Apple’s (AAPL) profit share soared as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 started burning up, resulting in the company discontinuing its flagship smartphone.
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“Samsung had a weak third quarter, owing to halt and recall of the Galaxy Note 7,” Long wrote to investors. “After registering the highest operating margin since early 2014 last quarter, Samsung’s profitability fell to near-breakeven levels in September. Samsung’s market share slipped to 22% of global smartphone shipments in the quarter, and we model share to fall to the lowest level since mid-2011 next quarter.”
Determining a smartphone’s profit share across the industry can be difficult, since some companies don’t release their performance. However, in the last several years, Apple and Samsung have nearly exclusively owned smartphone profits and have typically combined to secure more than 100%. Profit shares are able to exceed 100% as smaller handset makers post losses. Companies like Apple and Samsung gobble up everything else.
Long’s findings show that in the third quarter, only Apple was able to make a profit on smartphones, suggesting other companies are competing in the marketplace in hopes of just getting noticed. Making money, it seems, is reserved for Apple.
Apple’s iPhone has long been among the most popular smartphones in the world and are sold by Apple for hundreds of dollars above their total manufacturing cost. The iPhone is the main driver for Apple’s billions of dollars in quarterly profits.
However, Apple posted a somewhat disappointing end to its fiscal year last month as iPhone unit sales slipped 5% year over year and revenue slid 13%. Apple’s Mac business was also down, and its iPad operation was stagnant.
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Despite those troubles, Long said Apple’s ability to capture all profits is critical. He also noted that Apple is gaining more smartphone market share after Samsung’s missteps, and said Apple still offers the highest average selling price in the smartphone market. All of that, he said, makes him bullish on Apple’s growth potential in the coming quarters.
Long also wouldn’t downgrade his view on Samsung’s future, but noted he’s keeping an eye on how the Galaxy Note 7 might impact its reputation.