The Mac is Back: All-time record quarterly Mac sales for Apple's 2011 Q4

by Bill Fox, October 19, 2011

Apple announced that its fourth fiscal quarter (Q4) of 2011 had the second highest quarterly revenue for any financial quarter in its history and the highest revenue for a Q4 ever. However, for the first time in more than 7 years, earnings per share (EPS) of $7.05 actually fell below the $7.28 consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts by 3%. Revenue was $28.3 billion with a net quarterly profit of $6.6 billion, both of which are huge increases over the 2010 Q4 results by nearly 39 percent and 54 percent respectively. The gross margin was 40 percent, up from nearly 37 percent of Q4 last year.

Apple's cash on hand and short- and long-term investments increased 60 percent to $81.6 billion from $51.0 billion in Q4 of 2010.

Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, summed up the company's performance as "We are thrilled with the very strong finish of an outstanding fiscal 2011, growing annual revenue to $108 billion and growing earnings to $26 billion. Customer response to iPhone 4S has been fantastic, we have strong momentum going into the holiday season, and we remain really enthusiastic about our product pipeline."

Compared with Q4 of 2010, Mac sales were up 26 percent to over 4.9 million, a record quarterly number. iPhone sales were up 21 percent to over 17 million despite a late quarter decline in sales rate in anticipation of the iPhone 4S release. iPod sales were down 27 percent but still came in at over 6.6 million indicating that the product line still has plenty of life. Apple's iPad sales are skyrocketing and reached over 11 million, up 166 percent from Q4 of 2010.

Within the Macs, portable unit sales growth of 37 percent, driven by super MacBook Air sales and strong MacBook Pro sales, overshadowed the 3 percent growth achieved by desktop unit sales dominated by iMacs. Portables outsold desktops by nearly 3 to 1.

All of Apple's operating segments (Americas, Europe, Japan, Asia Pacific and retail stores) scored increased unit sales and, except for Japan, in revenue over the same quarter in 2010, averaging 26 percent growth in unit sales and 39 percent growth in revenue. The revenue of Apple's Asia-Pacific division had a fourth quarter of phenomenal year over year growth of 139 percent. Apple's retail stores also had increases in unit sales and revenue of 25 percent and 1 percent respectively.

According to Apple's telephone call with analysts, still half the people who buy Macs in Apple's retail stores never owned a Mac before. During the 2011 fiscal year Apple opened 31 new stores and now has a total of 357 world wide. Apple plans to open 40 new stores in the 2012 fiscal year with 75% outside the U.S. In the U.S., Apple plans to continuing opening even bigger stores in its high volume locations.

Check out the other interesting stuff discussed during Apple's call with analysts that is posted here.

Apple forecast a huge increase for next quarter's revenue (Q1 of 2012), usually the best seasonally, to about $37 billion with a record earnings per share of about $9.30. Apple's forecasts have been quite conservative in the past so the holiday season is looking great.

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Copyright © 1995-2011 by Bill Fox
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