Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock has received another pair of price target increases based on the appearance of a better-than-expected iPhone 7 cycle. One firm states that a fresh survey points not only to strong demand but also upside to the average selling price, which backs up research conducted by another firm as well recently. The other firm believes Apple’s Inc. (AAPL) supply chain is preparing for production forecasts to be increased.
Today’s pair of positive reports stand in contrast to the last set which suggested that investors shouldn’t get too carried away just yet.
Apple (AAPL) stock target to $125
In a report dated September 22, RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani bumped up his price target for Inc. (AAPL) stock slightly from $120 to $125 per share and reiterated his Outperform rating. His firm surveyed more than 6,000 people and discovered that there’s a mix shift toward the plus-sized iPhone 7. As a result, he believes there could be significant upside to the average selling price.
He reports that 46% of those who participated in the survey intend to buy a 5.5-inch iPhone, either iPhone 6s Plus or iPhone 7 Plus. That’s an increase from the 38% who said last year that they intended to buy the larger size.
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So overall, the analyst believes that average selling prices could surprise to the upside because of the greater preference for the iPhone 7 Plus and also the $20 increase in price this year compared to the iPhone 6s. Further, his survey indicated that the iPhone replacement is at least stable or at least lengthening at a slower rate than it was previously.
More memory = more upside to ASP
The RBC analyst ads that the mid-tier memory level is still the most popular as more than half of respondents plan to buy the mid-tier model, compared to 55% last year.
Because Apple Inc. (AAPL) has bumped up the memory options and made the entry-level iPhone 7 have 32GB of memory instead of 16GB, he sees this as positive and better than he had “feared” previously. He added that the mix shift toward the bigger iPhone 7 should more than offset any dilution Apple Inc. (AAPL) might experience from the storage mix.
Daryanani also found a steady increase in Apple accessories being purchased, as about 17% plan to buy an Apple Watch, compared to only 13% last year. He said Apple Pay usage grew to 24% this year from 16% following the initial launch. Although these other products contribute a much smaller amount of revenue than the iPhone does, he believes interest in these products are good for retention of the overall iOS ecosystem.
Apple (AAPL) stock target to $135 at Nomura
Nomura analyst Jeffrey Kvaal increased his price target for Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock from $120 to $135 and maintained his Buy rating in a report dated September 22. He noted that data points from many regions, including the U.S., U.K. and Japan, indicate that the iPhone 7 launch has been “very healthy” so far. He believes demand is outpacing U.S. carrier expectations.
He also suggests that the strength of the demand is due to more than the phone’s appeal. He notes that carrier promotions, especially in the U.S., have been more aggressive this year and adds that the battery explosion problems with the Galaxy Note 7 are probably helping as well. Further, the iPhone 7 launch is coming to a subscriber base that was 35% bigger than it was two years ago with the iPhone 6.
Like Daryanani, Kvaal also sees likely upside to average selling price. He estimates that the iPhone 6s ended up missing the traditional 70% of volumes typically represented by the flagship model, meaning that people kept buying the iPhone 6 even after the 6s had been released due to a lack of differentiation paired with price cuts on the iPhone 6. Between the mix shift back to the flagship and the mix shift to the iPhone 7 Plus, Kvaal sees average selling prices heading back toward $700.
Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock edged upward by as much as 0.96% to $114.65 during regular trading hours on Thursday.