05 January, 2019
PRICE TAG Some analysts, however, questioned the impact of Apple's own actions, such as its unyielding pursuit of high selling prices for its products.
"Beyond China, we don't see strong evidence of a consumer slowdown heading into 2019, but we just flag to investors that we believe Apple's replacement rates are likely much more sensitive to the macro now that the company is approaching maximum market penetration for the iPhone".
After Apple's first revenue warning in almost 12 years, investors also dumped chipmakers and tech stocks and flocked to perceived safe havens like U.S. Treasuries and the Japanese yen.
While Huawei still has a way to go in catching up to Apple in terms of revenue, it is making huge inroads in markets across the globe and its high-end models are increasingly popular.
"While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China", Cook said in a letter to investors.
"Apple sales in China have not been doing well for a few quarters now, part of the reason is that their price points have gone too high - past the $1,000 mark", said Kiranjeet Kaur, an analyst at market research firm IDC. In announcing the new forecast, Cook said the Chinese smartphone market is contracting and noted that foot traffic to Apple retail stores has been down in recent months.
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"I think there are a heck of a lot of US companies that have a lot of sales in China that are basically going to be watching their earnings be downgraded next year". "It will be interesting to see how Apple shares react if there's a China trade agreement".
However, the company's woes in China have been exacerbated by a court decision that could potentially ban iPhone sales in the country. And after several component makers in November forecast weaker-than-expected sales, some market watchers called the peak for iPhones in several key markets. But he said then that he "would not put China in that category" of countries with troubled growth.
That all came before the damage to the Chinese economy from trade tensions with the United States and long-simmering structural issues became evident. But Cook acknowledges that Apple is also taking steps to improve its results.
"It's two-third what's happening in China and one-third Apple's pricing", said Gene Munster, managing partner at Loup Ventures, noting the weighted average iPhone price had jumped 23 percent with the release of the new models.
If Apple racks up some $84bn by the end of the first quarter, it will be a decrease of more than $4bn from the same period past year, when it pocketed $88.3bn. Cook says that Apple expected this.