Apple appears to be doing just fine so far this holiday shopping season despite expectations that the iPhone 6s cycle will not significantly outperform last year’s iPhone 6 cycle. Sales of the company’s suppliers were weaker than typical seasonality in November but came off a stronger than usual October.
Updates from Apple suppliers
Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White said in his Dec. 8 report that his Apple Monitor shows so far that the company’s main suppliers racked up a 6% decline in revenue month over month in November, which White says is weaker than typical seasonality. The preliminary readings come from 97% of his collection of Apple’s Taiwanese suppliers. The other 3% of the companies in his sample have not yet reported their November sales.
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In November 2014, White’s Apple Monitor showed a 4% increase month over month, but he noted that last year, production of the iPhone 6 Plus was delayed, thus causing weakness in the supply chain early in the cycle but then improvements throughout the quarter. Also this year he said yields on the iPhone 6s models were “healthy.”
Further, he reported that in October, his Apple Monitor indicated stronger than average sales among the company’s suppliers with a 9% month over month increase. The average increase in this time frame over the last nine years is 6%.
Looking to Q4
The analyst also said that his contacts in China and Taiwan believe that the iPhone 6s lineup this year won’t outperform last year’s iPhone 6 lineup and also said that sales of older iPhone models are going well. White expects a 4% year over year increase in iPhone units in the December quarter and a 4% decline in the March quarter.
He added that looking to projections for the Apple Monitor in the December quarter, he expects a 16% quarter over quarter increase, which is lower than the 20% average increase over the last nine years. He’s not worried about this decline, however, as Apple guided for its December quarter to be weaker than typical seasonality. The company said it expects sales to increase by between 47% and 50% quarter over quarter in the December quarter, which is lower than the average 56% increase from the past five years. White noted that in last year’s December quarter, Apple racked up a 77% quarter over quarter increase in sales.
Apple Watch to do well
The analyst continues to expect the Apple Watch to become a breakout hit this year during the holiday shopping season and believes it will become another “branch” on the company’s tree. He believes it will be a popular gift this holiday season and that it will finally reach mass adoption after lackluster reception all year.
White continues to rate Apple as a Buy with a $200 per share price target. Shares of Apple dipped during regular trading hours today, falling by 0.25% to $117.99 per share in late afternoon trading.