Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares slumped again Tuesday following a report that the tech giant is considering promotional tactics such as promotional discounts and trade-ins to boost iPhone sales over the key holiday shopping period.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Apple reshuffled some of its global marketing staff in October in order to address disappointing iPhone sales, just weeks after a new suite of models, including the XS and the XR, was launched in late September. Since then, persistent reports from both analysts that cover the company and signals from its major suppliers have indicated weaker-than-expected iPhone demand heading into the holiday quarter, which for Apple ends in January, sending its shares into an autumn tailspin. HSBC analyst Erwan Rambourg also cut his price target on the group to $200 per share, and lowered the bank's rating on the stock to hold from buy, in a report published late Monday.
Apple shares were marked 3.66% lower at $178.06 by mid-day Tuesday, a move that takes its decline from the October 3 peak to around 23.2%.
Apple briefly lost its title as the world's most valuable company Monday after online retailing giant Amazon Inc. (AMZN) traded at a market capitalization of $866.6 billion.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has notably reduced orders for the three new iPhones it unveiled in September -- the XS, XS Max and the XR -- from suppliers, and slashed planned production for the iPhone XR by around 33% from the 70 million units it originally had anticipated from launch through the holiday season.
The reports come in the wake of a decision by Apple to no longer provide detailed numbers for the sale of it individual products, such as iPhones and mac computers, meaning investors will no longer be able to calculate their average selling price, a key metric used to gauge the company's profitability.
The decision to scrap that guidance, as well as forecasts for December quarter sales of around $91 billion over the three months ending in December, overshadowed a stronger-than-expected September quarter which saw better-than-expected earnings of $2.91 per share and group revenues of $62.9 billion, and sent shares tumbling to their biggest single-day decline since 2014.
Apple said it shifted 46.9 million iPhones over the three months ending in September, a figure that was largely in-line with analysts' forecasts but was flattered by a much stronger-than-expected average selling price of $793, which topped the $751 consensus and rose 28.3% from the same period last year.
Services revenue, which includes App Store, Apple Music, iCloud Storage and Apple Pay sales, rose 27% to $10 billion but slowed from the 31% recorded in the June quarter, an easing that may have been affected by the slower pace of iPhones sales that reduces the so-called installed base.