Apple: Nine Quarters of iPhone Unit Sales and Revenue Per Unit
Apple is currently experiencing a period of startling revenue and earnings growth. This growth is due in large part to the virtually unbridled success of the popular Apple iPhone. The only practical limit on iPhone sales is the company's ability to manufacture sufficient product to meet global demand.
In four of the most recent nine fiscal quarters year-over-year iPhone unit sales growth reached triple digits. In all but one quarter year-over-year unit sales rose greater than 60%. Over the most recent eight fiscal quarters revenue from sales of iPhone handsets and related accessories rose from $2.940 billion in the first fiscal quarter of FY 2009 to $10.468 billion in the first fiscal quarter of FY 2011. Over this same eight-quarter period unit sales have increased from 4.363 million units to $16.235 million units.
Revenue Per Unit
There are two ways to view revenue generated from iPhone unit sales. One way is by charting the iPhone average selling price. The other, and the method used in this post, is to chart revenue generated from handset sales and related accessories. The data used in this post is sourced from Apple's quarterly data sheets that incorporates revenue from iPhone accessories sales into the numbers.
As the chart and table data below indicate, revenue per unit sold has remained fairly consistent over this nine-quarter period. The drop in revenue per unit sold in FQ3 2009 was due to the sharp drop in price on the iPhone 3G as the 3GS iPhone was released but in constrained supply. There is a slight seasonal benefit to revenue per unit in the holiday quarter (FQ1) each year. In FQ4 2009 year-over-year unit sell through increased 38% but reported unit sales rose only 6% due to a dramatic increase in channel supply of iPhone 3G units the prior-year period. In FQ3 2010 Apple put the brakes on iPhone 3GS production ahead of the release of the iPhone 4 leading to a 61.25% rise in unit sales year-over-year but a sequential drop in unit sales. Prior to Apple's action to reduce channel supply of the 3GS handsets at the end of the quarter, unit shipments had been running at about a 90% year-over-year growth pace.