Is Wall Street Bullish On Apple Stock?

Shares of the tech giant Apple Inc AAPL have been able to outpace the broader markets for over two decades. While the S&P 500 index has gained close to 136% since the start of 2000, Apple has returned over 1,200% in the same period. 

Even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple surfed record heights this year to become the first company to touch $2 trillion in valuation.

Apple stock has gained 58% year-to-date. 

Apple Successfully Diversifying Away From iPhone: Apple is one of the premium consumer brands in the world. It has managed to tap into consumer emotions, generating a high degree of loyalty that results in repeat purchases.

The company has released several iconic and revolutionary products including the iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook and, more recently, the AirPods and Apple Watch. 

The first iPhone, introduced way back in June 2007, was quick to disrupt the smartphone segment.

The iPhone accounted for 5% of the global smartphone market at the end of 2007, and this rose to an enviable 20% in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to Statista

It was not long before the iPhone became Apple’s flagship product, translating to 54.7% of total sales in fiscal 2019. This figure touched a peak of 66% in 2015 and stood at 44% in the June quarter of 2020. 

Apple has successfully managed to diversify its revenue base over the years and now has a lower level of dependency on the smartphone segment.

At the same time, 44% of sales is still sizable, and the upcoming lineup of 5G-enabled iPhones should continue to be a critical driver of Apple’s sales. 

Services, Wearables Key To Apple's Long-Term Growth: In 2014, Apple’s Services business raked in $18 billion in sales and accounted for less than 10% of company revenue.

By 2019, the Services business had more than doubled to $46 billion, accounting for 18% of total sales. In the first nine months of fiscal 2020, the Services business has already generated $40 billion in revenue. 

In 2014, Apple’s wearables business was virtually non-existent. In 2019, it was Cupertino's fastest-growing segment, with a 9.4% share of total sales. 

Revenues from Apple’s Services comprise sales from its digital content stores and streaming services as well as Apple Care, licensing and other subscription services like Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade. 

The Wearables segment consists of AirPods, Apple Watch, Beats products, HomePod and iPod Touch.

Growth in the high-margin Services business has enabled Apple to increase its earnings at an annual rate of 8.4% in the last five years. Wall Street analysts expect earnings to grow by 12.5% annually between fiscal 2019 and 2024. 

Apple's Potential In Emerging Markets: The iPhone ended 2019 with a 13.9% market share in the global smartphone space.

It is the largest smartphone player in the U.S., but is struggling to gain a foothold in emerging economies such as India, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

The iPhone is still viewed as a luxury product on the Indian subcontinent, where the average smartphone costs less than $200. 

Yet the increase in the purchasing power of the middle class in emerging markets could help Apple sustain its revenue growth in the coming decade.

The company continues to pump billions of dollars into research and development, giving it an edge over market peers, disruptive products, brand loyalty and a recurring customer base. 

Apple’s diversified business, huge market presence and strong balance sheet are some of the reasons why analysts continue to remain bullish on the stock. According to the 38 analysts polled by Yahoo Finance, 32 have a “buy” recommendation on Apple shares and six have a “hold” recommendation. 

Photo courtesy of Apple. 

Posted In: 5GiPhoneAnalyst ColorAnalyst RatingsTechTrading Ideas