Over the past five years, Apple (AAPL -2.11%) stock has risen by 277%, adjusted for a 2020 stock split. But it's also important to note that Apple pays a modest dividend, so assuming reinvestment of all the dividends you received over the past five years, Apple's five-year total return through May 13 was 291%.

So, if you had invested $10,000 in Apple stock five years ago, and had reinvested your dividends along the way, your investment would have grown to about $39,100.

Apple vs. the benchmarks

To put it mildly, this is extraordinary performance. A 291% total return over a five-year period translates to 31% annualized total returns. Meanwhile, the long-term average of the S&P 500 is about 10%.

Considering just the past five years, here's how Apple's performance compares with the major benchmarks.

Company/Index

5-Year Total Return

Apple

291%

Nasdaq 100

150%

S&P 500

97%

Dow Jones Industrial Average

69%

Data source: YCharts.

Why has Apple performed so well?

Obviously, a lot of factors have contributed to Apple's performance over the past five years -- including 20 quarterly earnings reports, five holiday shopping seasons, numerous new product releases, and much more. In short, there's far too much to cover in a relatively short article.

Having said that, comparing some of Apple's key metrics from its most recent earnings release with the same metrics from an earnings report five years prior tells us a lot about why Apple has delivered such stellar performance.

Metric

Fiscal Q2 2019

Fiscal Q2 2024

% Change

Total revenue

$58.02 billion

$90.75 billion

56.4%

Product revenue

$46.57 billion

$66.89 billion

43.6%

Service revenue

$11.45 billion

$23.87 billion

108%

Earnings per share

$0.615

$1.53

149%

Outstanding shares

18.8 billion

15.5 billion

(17.5%)

Data source: Apple. Per-share metrics are split-adjusted. Parentheses indicate negative numbers.

The bottom line is that Apple has produced fantastic returns, but there are some good reasons why -- not hype or explosive growth, but excellent business performance sustained over time.