Evidence Mounts: Apple Could Post Big Numbers in Its First Quarter

"Big," of course, should be put in perspective. Pretty much any number Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) reports is big in absolute terms. In Q4, for instance, Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones, and 14.1 million iPads -- those aren't small numbers by any measure. Even record numbers are normal for Apple. Indeed, Apple is guiding for record revenue in Q1. So what is "big" for Apple in Q1? Considering that Apple guided for $55 to $58 billion in revenue and its guidance has recently taken a turn for considerable accuracy, $60 billion plus would be on the brink of big.

So why does Apple look poised to easily deliver $60 billion plus revenue? A combination of evidence that surfaced during the holidays suggests demand for Apple's products was more than solid -- it looks terrific. Looking back, let's review the stories.

A Black Friday weekend blowout
During the Black Friday weekend (including Cyber Monday), Apple products saw impressive sales growth in the U.S. compared to the prior weekend, according to Localytics data. In fact, Apple products took six of the top nine spots in sales growth among the devices Localytics tracked. In first, second, and third were the iPad Air, iPad Mini, and iPhone 5c. Most impressively, the iPad Air saw growth of 51%; the closest non-Apple product was the Kindle Fire HD 7" with 23% growth.

iPhone 5s.

Popularity of iPhone 5s and 5c at U.S. carriers
During September, October, and November, the iPhone 5s was the top-selling phone at every carrier, according to Canaccord Genuity. Meanwhile, the lower-cost iPhone 5c was at least the second or third best selling smartphone at every carrier during each month.

Apple gains market share
Just-released data from Chitika shows that Apple was the only smartphone brand to gain market share of web traffic in North America during the holidays. Apple's share of traffic the week of Christmas jumped 1.8% to 54.3%. Comparatively, Samsung's actually declined 0.8% to 23.7%.

Though Apple's guidance is far more accurate since it changed its methods for providing guidance in January, the massive numbers Apple deals with during its holiday quarter likely make the task more difficult for management. And if Apple is going to err on any side of guidance during the important quarter, Apple would likely prefer to err on the side of conservatism. That said, is it likely Apple really predicted their products would do this well? All three of these reports point to impressively robust demand for Apple's products during the holidays. Perhaps a $60 billion quarter is now a sensible expectation.

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Read/Post Comments (12) | Recommend This Article (2)

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  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 8:32 PM, PedroHMG wrote:

    Yes...they will post record numbers...again...another blowout. Probably blowing past $60 billion in sales. They will earn more this quarter than Amazon has earned "net" in the entire history of the company. Even with a PE of 1....Apple will still go down because their are so many irrational sellers.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 10:06 PM, SimchaStein wrote:

    Thanks for good forecast. Bet their guidance will be good too.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 10:21 PM, Cintos wrote:

    Shame on Apple for making money. Wall Street has its sights set on firms which make NO money, because ... someday they will. (???)

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 10:27 PM, foolmeonce1866 wrote:

    No- because ... someday they might. (???)

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 10:48 PM, Waldo wrote:

    Even with a blowout quarter, the stock price might only go up at a nominal rate. Some so called Anal-ist will be " Dissapointed" about something or other, the naysayers will call for a bleak follow up quarter and the lemmings will sell.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 11:42 PM, JokerJoey wrote:

    So your jobs people are to buy every single share that the idiot naysayers sell. Simple problem. Simple solution. Then they can all go cry in the corner as the buyback continues, the dividend rises, and the stock explodes past $600.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2014, at 12:27 AM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    what the other commentator's said is so true

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2014, at 1:03 AM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    If AAPL has a 60 billion quarter, will it be good news? Probably not, because the "chink" on CNBC's fast money will put AAPL down and all the stupid journalists will write negative articles about how AAPL doesn't have any new products. Blah,blah blah to all you AAPL haters, because you didn't buy AAPL stock when it was $125 or $300 A SHARE, or when the p.e was 55. Oooops, its never been that high! It's always in the single digits or 12. Money managers and institutional investors prefer companies that have 1000 + p.e.'s like AMZN, who give away or sell their AAPL COPYCAT PRODUCTS for free or at a loss so that their future earnings might rise. Meanwhile AAPL SELLS 15-20 BILLION EVERY MONTH! What's really sad is that AAPL is treated like a MSFT,CSCO,INTC,HPQ,AMZN, ORCL, IBM when it comes to sales and earnings, and CMG GOOG, AMZN, BIIB AND ALL THE OTHER COMPANIES GROWING 10%,12%, 25% OR MORE GET THE HUGE STOCK APPRECIATION, WHILE AAPL goes nowhere. BUT AAPL MAKES MORE MONEY IN 1 QUARTER THAN ALL THESE COMPANIES COMBINED!! LOL

    Where is Peter Lynch or John Templeton? What's wrong with Warren Buffet, and his stupid comments about..."I ONLY BUY COMPANIES I UNDERSTAND". What don't you understand about computers, laptops, and smartphones? Everyone is buying them every day for the past 5 years like they are hamburg's. Don't you investor's see all the cash AAPL makes? IF CMG REPORTS A 12% INCREASE IN SALES, IT JUMPS $38 A SHARE.If GOOG reports a 12% increase, it goes up $68. If AAPL reports a 27% - 49% increase in sales, earnings or anything, AAPL goes up $5.17 , only to fall the next day because AAPL haters come out and write bad articles and all the stupid stockholders sell . WALL STREET IS F--KED UP. There is some crooked/ shady stuff going on down on Wall Street, because AAPL SHOULD BE TREATED LIKE THE BEST TECH STOCK IN THE WORLD! AMZN SHOULD BE THE ONE WITH THE $41 STOCK PRICE, WITH THEIR 10,000 P.E

    WAKE UP PEOPLE! QUIT DOING DRUGS! USE YOUR BRAINS.AAPL will report 72 Billion in sales this quarter , and AAPL should open up $200 a share higher the next day to $800.00 a share. Their sales will explode the next 3-4 quarters! The deal with CHINA MOBILE is HUUUUUUUUUUUGE!!. THEY HAVE 756 MILLION ADULT BUYING CUSTOMERS. THAT'S 2 1/2 X'S THE PEOPLE IN THE U.S.A .

    AAPL stands for quality with the best products in the world. AAPL STOCK IS HEADED TO $1500 A SHARE NEXT YEAR

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2014, at 7:05 AM, TheJJK wrote:

    @dwilh51183 Exactly what I'm experiencing the last year. Apple goes down anyway. If they sell 10billion iPhones in 1 week, they go down. If another company sells 100 phones in 3 months, it goes up.

    There's something going on...

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2014, at 8:03 AM, imvho wrote:

    "People pay way too much attention to the short term." - Warren Buffet

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2014, at 3:51 PM, MacAddict3 wrote:

    Please do not use the increase Apple numbers on internet usage as a sign that Apple has sold record numbers of iDevices. I believe Apple's iDevices are in a first, second, and third owner business. This is similar to cars in that the original owner keeps it for one or two years and then trades it in for the newer model. The resold units are then competitive with Samsung new kit in the secondary market. So some of those numbers are Apple second owner units in the developing nations. Other wise this is a very well thought out and well written piece.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2014, at 10:38 AM, GirlsUnder30 wrote:

    Apple is still innovating and is now focused on improving margins. Read below:

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