In the US, on a sales per square foot basis, Apple retail continues to perform twice as well as Tiffany & Co., the second best retailer, and three times as well as lululemon athletica, the third best retailer.
The latest quarter showed a 7% growth in visitors and a new record revenue of $57.6 per visitor.
As a result, the average revenue per Apple store per quarter reached $13 million, the highest level for a non-holiday quarter.
Here are some additional metrics:
In the latest quarter the iTunes top line grew by 32%. Additional newly reported items:
- Quarterly revenues topped $4 billion (a new high) and the company suggests that this rate is maintainable by stating it has a “$16 billion annual run rate”. The pattern of revenues is shown below.
- The content portion of iTunes revenues was $2.4 billion, up from $2.1 billion sequentially. Growth into Q1 is not unusual as many holiday iTunes gift cards are redeemed during January.
- Revenue growth has been surprisingly steady, averaging 29%/quarter for more than six years.
I expected Apple’s margins to improve last quarter. They didn’t and so the question I needed to answer is why. Here is a history of Apple’s gross margin and operating margin as reported since late 2005:
For a company selling hardware these are extraordinarily high margins. They are higher than those of Google and have narrowed the gap with Microsoft, neither of which has a high proportion of hardware sales:
I repeat what I’ve mentioned before: The iPhone is primarily hired as a premium network service salesman. It receives a “commission” for selling a premium service in the form of a premium price. Because it’s so good at it, the premium is quite high.
The job the iPhone is hired to do
The original post on the hiring of the iPhone by operators was anchored in data about the revenue per unit (or price) that the product was able to obtain. The remarkable resilience in the exceptionally high average price showed that the iPhone was still getting a premium for moving users to higher levels of spending on network services.
The evidence was circumstantial however: By knowing the price and knowing it was far higher than competing products and knowing that much of it was paid by the operator and not the consumer (at least not up-front) implied that it was the iPhone, and only the iPhone, that was hired as a network service sales tool.
Now we have more evidence thanks to Ben Thompson (@monkbent). I illustrate the data here as an x-y scatterplot.
The following graph shows the history of smartphone volume shipments from Nokia.
Lumia sales have increased to 5.6 million units last quarter. Up from 4.4 during the previous quarter. Symbian devices have nearly disappeared from the market with only 0.5 million shipped.
This puts an end to Symbian sales after over a decade since sales start and two years after it was declared that sales would end.
The bad news remains that smart devices as defined by Nokia are still not profitable. If volumes grow it’s possible that the cost structure (without further cuts) can be sustained and perhaps the business will get its footing.
The level of 6 million units/quarter is about where HTC and RIM are today but only half of what ZTE and Huawei are probably shipping. As a hardware business it might work, barely. It certainly helps to have $250 million as platform support payments from Microsoft.
As a platform it’s still a very long haul for Windows Phone. Even if we assume a nominal $15 revenue/ Windows Phone license and ignore the kickback, at this level of sales the platform generates less income than what Microsoft gets from licensing IP to Android vendors.