While 2020 won’t be remembered fondly in history books, it has been quite good for Apple, which is ending its fiscal 2020 with record revenues for three of its four quarters. Today, Apple announced record fourth quarter revenues of $64.7 billion, once again citing strength in its growing services business, as well as an all-time record for Mac sales, offset by the atypical absence of first weekend iPhone sales to buoy the numbers.
On average, analysts expected that Apple’s revenues would be $63.7 billion, a drop of 0.5% from the year ago quarter, when the company reached a record $64.04 billion in sales despite falling iPhone and Mac earnings. At that point, Apple reported accelerated growth in services, as well as healthy sales of iPads and wearables. But Apple beat the predictions by a billion dollars — a 1% increase over the prior year, with earnings per diluted share of $0.73.
Apple says it sold $26.444 billion in iPhones, $9.032 billion in Macs, and $6.797 billion in iPads during the quarter, with combined “wearables, home and accessories” sales of $7.876 billion, and services at $14.549 billion. That’s up across most categories from the year-ago quarter, when Macs were at $6.991 billion, iPads at $4.656 billion, wearables at $6.52 billion, and services at $12.511 billion, but down sharply for iPhones from $33.362 billion due to COVID-19-related shipping delays.
“Despite the ongoing impacts of COVID-19,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, “Apple is in the midst of our most prolific product introduction period ever, and the early response to all our new products, led by our first 5G-enabled iPhone lineup, has been tremendously positive.” Initial sales of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro began in mid-October, with additional mini and Pro Max models scheduled to hit stores in mid-November, so their sales will instead boost the company’s first 2021 fiscal quarter revenues.
Geographically, Apple’s net sales in the Americas grew year-over-year from $29.322 billion to $30.698 billion, and from $14.946 billion to $16.9 billion in Europe, $4.982 billion to $5.023 billion in Japan, and $3.656 billion to $4.131 billion in the Asia Pacific region. But they fell sharply in Greater China from $11.134 billion to $7.946 billion, again likely reflecting the delayed arrival of new iPhones in one of their most popular international territories. International sales constituted 59% of the quarter’s revenue, down only slightly from 60% a year earlier.
Apple had a quietly busy fourth fiscal quarter, using a largely remote workforce to finish new mobile operating systems unveiled at an all-digital Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The company also launched new Apple Watches and iPads in September, and revealed a new Fitness+ interactive service that relies on the Watch for workout tracking, and either Apple TVs, iPads, or iPhones for video playback; both Fitness+ and Apple One, a bundle of Apple services, will launch during this quarter. Apple is also expected to officially announce the first Macs based on Apple-developed ARM processors during the holiday quarter, alongside macOS Big Sur.
Although the coronavirus pandemic wrecked countless businesses throughout the year, delaying key Apple products and impacting second quarter earnings, the company weathered the storm impressively, using its strong online retail infrastructure to offset the closures of its brick-and-mortar stores. Sales of Macs and iPads surged to meet new demand for work-from-home and study-from-home devices, and in the third quarter, Apple reported growth across all of its geographic segments.
During the July 30 announcement of its third quarter results, Apple said that it would split its stock by a 4:1 ratio on August 31, spurring a $2 trillion market capitalization in mid-August, then a peak share price of $134.18 on September 1. While the market cap has since fallen from its high of over $2.3 trillion, it has floated around the $2 trillion mark.
Apple also declared a $0.205 per share cash dividend for the quarter, seemingly down from the typical $0.77 per share, but actually adjusted upwards given the 4:1 stock split. It will be payable on November 12 to shareholders on record as of November 9, 2020. Due to continued COVID-19-related unpredictability, the company is not offering guidance for the holiday quarter.
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