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Apple's Product Breakdown Reveals Consumer Weakness

Apple's Product Breakdown Reveals Consumer Weakness

by , 10:10 AM EDT, April 19th, 2001

When you blow past the analysts consensus of one cent earnings by 10 cents, few people will criticize you. That's the case the day after Apple beat expectations for fiscal second-quarter profit and sales with a net income of US$40 million after non-recurring revenue, or 11 cents per diluted share.

"This isn't just good, it's great," said Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co. in New York. "These numbers are beyond my wildest dreams. In an economy like this for Apple to have dug in and hung on is nothing less than remarkable."

"These numbers are very, very good," said David Bailey, an analyst at Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co. in New York. "They prove Apple is focusing on the right areas at the right times."

Indeed, Apple's quarterly results were a dramatic contrast to the problems other PC manufacturers like Gateway and Compaq are having as a result of weakening world-wide economic conditions and overall slowing demand for PCs. But despite the good news, the break down numbers of what specific Mac models sold, and where they sold, show the consumer sector is softening and that much work needs to be done in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to improve sales.

In a detailed second-quarter summary data sheet released by Apple, the numbers clearly show that if it were not for the new PowerBook G4 released in January and strong demand for Power Mac G4 tower systems, Apple wouldn't have posted a profit based on sales of consumer-level Macs alone. iMac, iBook and Cube combined, unit sales were off 3%, 45%, and 59% respectively from the previous quarter. G4 tower and PowerBook sales combined were up a whopping 45% and 173% respectively. Overall, when you take out the poor consumer unit sales, Apple shows second-quarter unit sales up 14 percent.

Units Rev ($m) Unit change
from Q1 '01
iMac 300,000 286 -03%
iBook 55,000 70 -45%
Cube 12,000 33 -59%
PowrerMac G4 250,000 470 +45%
PowerBook 134,000 341 +173%

The numbers clearly show the Cube continues to not sell well, despite price cuts in the previous quarter. "This product simply isn't selling and Apple has to do something to revamp it soon," Bailey said. "Price cuts aren't doing it, so they have to go back to the drawing board and start over, I think."

Although not dramatic, it is clearly evident a revamping of sorts for the iMac is in order soon as iMac sales softened in the second-quarter, up only eight percent from the first quarter. "If it weren't for the addition of re-writeable CD drives in the iMac, things might have looked worse," Wolf said.

As for the iBook, both analyst expect new iBook models by July at Expo, if not sooner, and 'speed bumps' for both the iMac and Power Mac G4 systems. "Based on what I'm seeing in the channel, it wouldn't surprise me to see a new iBook before July and then dramatic megahertz increases this summer," Wolf commented.

As for sales by geographic region, Japan showed the biggest change from the previous quarter was a dramatic 75 percent increase in sales from the first quarter. North America was up 24 percent, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa were down 13 percent. Asia Pacific was off fractionally at three percent. Just how dramatic was the Japanese turn around in the second-quarter? A jump from 61,000 units in the first-quarter to 107,000 units sold in the Q2 - a revenue increase of 155 percent.

Whether by geographic regions or by product breakdown, it is very clear that while sales were up in the second-quarter compared to Q1, sales are way off compared to a year ago. Unit sales were off a whopping 28 percent from the same period last year, with revenue off 26 percent. By geographic breakdown, no region was spared. Every region, except for Japan, was off some 28 percent. Japan fell 39 percent.

By product breakdown year-to-year, the iMac was off 37 percent in unit sales, iBook at 52 percent, and the Power Mac G4 by 29 percent. The PowerBook line, because of new models that dealers can't keep on the shelves, was up 34 percent. The Cube had not been released at this same time last year, so it could not be compared.

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