Apple Earnings Preview: Mac Will Deliver A “One-Two Punch”

The Mac seems to have had unusually high demand throughout the pandemic year and during the holiday quarter. The segment is likely to shine brightly on earnings day, along with iPhones.
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Evidence continues to mount that Apple has likely had a killer fiscal first quarter.

After arguing that the iPhone will be king in the holiday period, driving most of Apple’s growth this time, I turn my focus of attention to the Mac. The category saw unusually high demand throughout the pandemic year (see graph below), and 2020’s shopping season will likely not be much different.

Should this be the case, the iPhone and the Mac will probably deliver a “one-two punch” on earnings day, possibly triggering bullish reaction from investors.

Fiscal Q12020 Growth by Segment

The year of the Mac

Research firm IDC has just released its calendar fourth quarter PC sales report. Suffice to say, the company believes desktop and laptop shipments to be “on fire”.

Across all vendors, IDC reports impressive growth of 26% in PC sales, to 96.1 million units. Supporting the idea that personal computers have been selling like hot cakes, the firm added:

“Every segment of the supply chain was stretched to its limits as production once again lagged behind demand during the quarter.”

The better news for Apple investors is that Mac shipments skyrocketed, to the tune of nearly 50%. Apple’s share of the market increased to 8.0% from 6.8% in the previous holiday period. No other manufacturer experienced growth at these levels.

The Cupertino company may have benefited from the introduction of the M1-equipped models. The new 13-inch MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini were announced in November and made available for purchase immediately.

It also helps that Apple’s Mac sales in the 2019 holiday quarter were dismal, at less than $6 billion and down 11% year-over-year. Against easy comps, the fiscal first quarter number should look quite robust.

No love from the market

Despite the encouraging news, Apple stock did not gain much support, at least by mid-day on January 11. Per the chart below, Apple shares (blue line) were down nearly 2% on Monday, while both the S&P 500 and the tech sector hovered closer to break even for the day.

Potential investors looking for a better entry point into this stock, therefore, should keep tabs on market action.

Twitter weighs in

I ran a poll a few days ago on Twitter, asking about Apple’s most successful, game-changing new product in 2021. Here are the results:

The Apple Maven on Twitter:

In any other year, a mature product category like personal computers would likely not make it to the top five list of exciting new devices. The introduction of the M1 chip has changed the narrative, and investors seem to be taking notice.

Explore more data and graphs

The data used in this report was provided by Stock Rover. I have been impressed with the breadth and depth of information on markets, stocks and ETFs that this platform provides. Stock Rover also helps to set up detailed filters, track custom portfolios and measure their performance relative to a number of benchmarks.

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(Disclaimers: the author may be long one or more stocks mentioned in this report. Also, the article may contain affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence editorial content. Thanks for supporting The Apple Maven)